Before we know it, kids will be out of school and it’s time to head to summer camp. There is no better time than now to start thinking about choosing a summer camp. The school will be out in a few weeks, avoid waiting till the last minute while scrambling to find ways to engage your little ones. If you’re like me, and you’re thinking of enrolling your kid in a summer enrichment camp, well here is a step by step on how to pick a summer camp. This list might help you move forward in selecting an appropriate place for your little ones. From ways to figure out the benefits of summer camp, or if summer camp sleepaway is right for you or maybe a free kids summer camp is more economical.
8 Things to Consider When Choosing A Summer Camp For Your Child
- What type of camp do you want? – Academic, Religion, STEM, Sports, Nature, Art & Craft or Special Needs – When it comes to the type of summer camp to attend – the choices are endless. This section is what’s proving to be a difficult one for us – we want our daughters to have a good summer experience, be engaged and challenged, they loves dancing, fashion, science, singing, arts and crafts, the list goes on. We would like hem to experience all these while also finding time to prepare academically for fifth and first grade. So finding a place that encompasses all these has been interesting.
- What’s your budget? – Summer camp can be pricey especially if you have more than one child. Look at your budget, how much are you willing to spend overall. Don’t forget to factor in transportation to and from camp. Some camps charge extra for field trips, supplies and food. Do your research some of these places offer income based financial aid/scholarship. Also don’t forget to include the cost of extra amenities – Is there before and after care? Will they be providing food, etc All these could affect the final cost.
- What’s your preference? – Sleep away or Day Camp – full day or half day– My little ones are way too young for a sleep away camp – we will miss them too much but if you’re brave enough and you believe your child is ready then a sleep away camp might be a good option. Some camps are weekly while others longer. Do your research and select one that works for your family. Also this will be a good time to decide if you want a co-ed, all boys or an all girls camp?
- Ask Around – Ask other parents at your child school, what are they doing for the summer? In speaking with our daughters’ classmates we found out about 4 summer camps that their friends will be attending. Which means if we choose one of these, they will have a friendly face when they go to camp.
- How long? – Duration – How long can you commit to – Do you want your child to go for a week, 6 weeks or 8 weeks? These are all the things you need to figure out as you plan. We are basing our decision on cost. If we can find a pretty nice place we love and it’s not too expensive then they girls might do 8 weeks but if the only place we love is expensive then one or two weeks it is. We will just have to make the best of it.
- Tour & One on one – Interview the Staff – Some camp offer open houses, this is a chance to tour the ground with your child. When you finally find a place that pique your interest make sure you interview the staff, not just the camp directors but also the counselors that works there – what’s their qualification? Are they CPR certified? If swimming is part of the program – will there be life guards on duty? Is there a nurse on staff? What’s the procedure for a medical emergency? What’s the camper to counselor ratio? What’s’ their refund policy? Are they insured? Does the facility run a detailed background check on all the staff? etc
- Where do I look? – Check local YMCA, Township Recreation Center, Neighborhood University or community college, Girls and Boy Scout Association and Country Clubs – all these places have summer camp programs. Also, check out your local arts and craft store – Michaels offers Passport to Imagination from June 14th till July 26th, a chance for your child to learn about the seven continents through arts and craft.
- Is the camp accredited? This is an optional service and some camp chooses not to be affiliated with an association. Personally, I think being accredited gives us parent a peace of mind. The American Camp Association makes it easy by offering up a directory of camps by state, and we used The American Camp Association, New York, and New Jersey to help with our search.
What’s your plan for the summer? Are you enrolling your kids in a summer camp? If so, which ones – sleep away, full day, or half day? Do you have any other tips that you would like to share?