Choosing the Right Summer Camp
Spending time at summer camp, whether it is a day camp or sleep-away, is one of the most exciting parts
of summer. Even though as a child, I spent my summers with my grandmother, she still managed to send me to a day camp each year and I still remember how much more fun that made my summer. Now, my kids are already out of school and heading on to Grandma’s house, so I’m also considering some shorter camps for them to participate in as well.
There is just something about the anticipation of the new adventures around the corner and
the amazing memories about to be made that makes it so much fun. But choosing the right summer
camp can sometimes be a stressful and uncertain process. Here are a few simple tips that will help you
to make the decision and leave you and your child feeling great about the possibilities of summer camp.
Start Your Search Early
Summer camps, especially the good ones, fill up fast! Begin researching your options as early as possible
and land on a few solid possibilities. Though you may have a specific camp in mind, remember that
space is limited and you may not be able to get your first choice or the week you want might not be
available. By finding a few options, you’ll be more likely to find a great camp that fits both your needs
and your child’s hopes and plans for their summer.
Discuss Needs and Wants
Sit down with your child and talk about what they would like to get out of summer camp and what
expectations they have. They may have specific activities that are a must-have or features that they
want to avoid. If they have not been to a sleepover camp before and that is a possibility, talk to them
about their thoughts and concerns on being away from home. Be sure to explain the process of signing
up for camp and ensure that they understand that it’s important to have a few choices as they may not
be able to attend their top selection this year.
Survey Friends and Family
Talk to friends and family to get their input on different camps that you are considering. Find out if they
or their children have had any experiences with individual camps and get their reviews. Camp can also
be easier for those new to overnights by finding a camp that a friend is attending. That familiarity can
make kids feel more confident and less likely to become homesick. Also have your child talk to their
friends about camp to get a better idea of what they can expect.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Make a list of questions that you have about the policies, procedures, and activities available at a camp
and then make a call to get them answered. This can help you to alleviate concerns and get a better
grasp on whether a camp will be a fit for your child. Ask about safety measures, policies for illness and
injury, plus find out how the camp handles children who become homesick, if it is an overnight camp. If
you have a difficult time getting answers, you may want to consider a different camp that is more
transparent in the way they handle parent questions and concerns.
Involve Your Child in the Final Decision
When you have done your due diligence and have narrowed down your possibilities to a couple of solid
choices that have space available, sit down with your child and make your final decision. Remember that
this is their summer and it is important that they feel good about the camp that they will be attending.
By giving them some freedom to choose, they will head off to camp with a great attitude, ready to have
a wonderful time.