Twisters Tips for Choosing a Great Summer Camp
For parents, choosing a summer camp for their child can be a somewhat overwhelming task. There are so many factors when considering if a camp is right for your child, from the location, facility and staff to cost, type of camp, activities, schedule, and so on. We’ve broken it down into some basic tips that can help you make the best choice for your family.
Look for a camp EARLY!
We’ve all heard it and it’s true: “The early bird gets the worm.” Many camps offer “Early Bird” discount rates if you sign up for camp by a certain date. If you do your homework early and choose a camp in advance, chances are you’ll get a better rate. That, and you won’t have to worry that all spots have been filled.
Look for a camp NEARBY
Unless you choose to send your child to sleep-away camp, you’ll need to find a camp within reasonable distance to your home or place of work. Not only for convenience, but you’ll want to be close in the event of an emergency. Something else to consider is that if you choose a camp close to or within your community, chances are you’ll see some familiar faces, perhaps friends from school or extracurricular activities who can sometimes help new campers ease into their new summer routine (and bonus: You might be able to carpool!)
Look for a camp that’s SAFE
It’s important to visit the camp facility in advance to check things out. You’ll want to cover the basics:
-Is the facility safe? (Secure entrances/ exits, safety equipment present, no obvious hazards, plenty of supervision)
-Have the staff members successfully passed background checks and required certifications? (CPR, First Aid, AED, sports safety certifications, training, etc)
-Do the campers travel off-site? If so, what are the safety procedures & precautions for field trips?
Look for a camp with BONUSES!
Most traditional summer camps provide the basics: Some variation of physical activity, socialization, creative activity, snack, lunch and some down time. Ask yourself what the bonuses are when considering a particular camp:
-Will they learn or improve on a sport or activity they enjoy?
-Will they take part in activities that will enrich their lives such as teamwork, volunteer work, confidence building, helping others and so on?
-What are your child’s goals (and your goals for your child) for the summer? Will this camp help them to achieve these goals in one way or another?
-Does the facility offer similar activities during the school year so your child can continue to progress?
-Who will my child’s role models be? (Are the counselors at your child’s camp coaches, athletes or youth leaders themselves?)
Look for a camp that fits YOUR FAMILY
There are so many factors that go into choosing the best camp for your family. If you’re between options, try making a helpful list of your needs and wants.
In the NEEDS column, write the things that MUST be in order for you to choose a camp for your child (Within reasonable distance, under a certain cost, willing to accommodate a food allergy, etc.) In the WANTS column, include things that you or your child would want from camp (field trips, swimming, a particular sport or theme.)
Now when it comes down to it, you should choose a camp that fulfills ALL of your NEEDS, and as many of your WANTS as possible. If your child is old enough, consider including them in this exercise as a learning experience.
No matter which camp you choose, we hope you have a FANTASTIC summer!!! :)
Written by: Lindsay LoBue