Despite the freezing temperatures and snow covering the ground, many parents are starting to think about the important decision of where to send their kids to summer camp. Especially if it’s your child’s first time, it’s important to make an educated, informed decision that best fits your family. But what factors are the most important to consider when choosing a summer camp? Check out the following five important things to consider from Paul Isserles, director of Buckley Day Camp!
Culture. Camp culture is what will make or break the camp experience for campers and their parents, so parents need to make sure the camp they choose has the right feel for their family. “Camp should be a place where campers and families feel positive and are comfortable to be themselves,” says Isserles. A great way to get a sense for the culture of a camp is by talking to the owners about their camp’s culture, visiting/attending a camp open house, and talking to families whose children have attended during previous summers.
Structure. It’s important that parents understand the structure of a camp’s program—both for now and for their child in the future. Is the camp a traditional one or is it more elective based? Is it more trip-based? It’s important to know what you’re looking for and find a program that fits your child. So if your child is very athletic and you’ve found a camp that doesn’t put much emphasis on sports, you may want to continue your search to find camps with more of an athletic focus.
Philosophy. Listen to how the camp administration talks about children—this will set the tone for how the staff work and act every day. It will also tell you a lot about what the camp’s philosophy is about working with children. The people who run your child’s camp should operate under a philosophy you relate to and believe in! The more you talk to the owners/administration of a camp, the more you will understand their philosophy behind running it.
Staffing. It’s important to ask the following questions in relation to staffing: How is the camp staffed? What is the staff-to-child ratio for each age group and the camp overall? What are the qualifications of the staff working with my child? What kind of training is done with the staff before camp? What is the retention rate of the staff? Make sure you are totally comfortable and happy with all of the answers, as the counselors and administration will be keeping watch over your most precious creation all summer long.
Flexibility. “Families should understand how flexible a camp is with changing weeks, absences, allergies etc.,” explains Paul. Especially if you have unique circumstances that require a degree of flexibility, it’s important to know how accommodating a camp is when you’re looking so that there are no surprises once the summer begins.
So now that you know what to consider when choosing a summer camp, search Kidz Central Station to find the perfect camp for your child this summer!