5 things you must consider when choosing a Summer Camp
Camp is a great time for kids to learn and grow in the areas they don’t have time or opportunity for during the school year. Whether you have an athlete or an artist, a camp experience that makes your child feel engaged, included and challenged will do wonders for their confidence and self-esteem – qualities that will serve them well as they head into the new school year and throughout their life! There are so many options available for camps that it has become a time consuming, overwhelming task for many parents. If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone! Let’s explore some things to think about that will help sort through the multitude of options and help you arrive at the one you think will be the best option for your child.
Here are 5 Details To Consider When Picking A Summer Camp:
- What skills do you want your child to develop – Starting with a goal in mind for what you want your child to learn by the end of summer can really help narrow down the options you start to consider. Do you want to have them experience new things that they don’t normally do throughout the school year or do you want them to hone their skills in a particular area of interest, such as a sport they play or an academic subject they like? This will likely change every year depending on where your child is in their development, age, interests, goals, so starting the planning process with this step can also help you take time to reflect on their achievements and growth.
- Your child’s personality – Is your child more of an introvert that thrives in small group settings and activities or more extroverted and outgoing? Do they enjoy being physically active most of the time and like sports or do they enjoy working on creative endeavors like art or music? Where do they like to spend their time, outside or indoors? The more you align these qualities to the camp format the more positive your child’s experience will be.
- The camp specialties – What does the camp offer in terms of the breadth of experiences and new learning and does it fit with the skills you want your child to develop over the summer? If your goal was to hone a skill, does it give your child those skills and experience? If you want them to learn things they don’t learn throughout the school year, does it offer unique experiences and skills they will take away after camp? The camp specialties should tie into the objective(s) you set out to accomplish for your child through summer camp.
- Camp location, pricing and times – Choosing a camp that has a schedule and location that aligns the best with your schedule is clearly ideal, so assessing your own needs and limitations is a good first step. Most day camps run from 9:00am – 3:00pm Monday through Friday, so if you work, it could really help to find a camp with easy access from your commute. Also, if you have a vacation planned, how much will your child miss from camp? If it’s a significant amount of time, it may not be worth investing in the camp and you can look for those that offer flexible schedules. There are camps that allow for the campers to do individual weeks in an eight week session, allowing you to sign up just for the weeks that your child is available. When considering the cost of the camp and assessing different options, it can be helpful to break the cost down into an hourly rate and see how that aligns with your budget. That way you can compare the cost of camp with alternative costs of childcare you would normally pay (sitters, daycare, lessons, tutoring, etc.) and decide if the additional cost (if any) is worth the the added value.
- Staff – The camp staff could make or break your child’s camp experience, so it’s very important to take some time to learn about the director and staff. How passionate is the director when it comes to the camp mission? What are the training and safety procedures for the staff? What positions does the camp staffing team consist of? These are qualities that can help you determine whether or not your child will click with the staff and feel comfortable. Camper to staff ratio is important indicator of how much individual attention your child will receive. A 10:1 ratio is a good measure for ensuring more personalized attention for your child.
With all the benefits camp has to offer it can be a very worthwhile investment in your child’s future. Not only are they putting their free time to good use by learning new things, but they also have a chance to make new friends beyond their normal circles at school and broaden their horizons to become more well-rounded individuals. With a little planning and strategy upfront, you can make the process of finding the right camp for your child less stressful and have more confidence in your final decision. Plan now so you don’t miss out on the camp you want They can fill up quickly. Good luck!