When School is Out, Camp Is In

Choosing a Summer Camp

Summer camps are a great way for children to learn new activities and social skills while fostering independence. There are no shortages of camps for children to attend over the summer months and it can often be daunting to choose a camp that is well suited for both the child and family. Below we have included some important considerations beyond cost and schedules when looking at your next summer camp.

History. While there are definitely great new camps that come out each year, a camp’s history can often provide you with good information on the camp’s operations. Reviews from previous campers and families might also be a great source of information when considering camps. Accreditation from national organizations such as the American Camp Association or a state licensing body is a good starting point in considering a summer activity.

Philosophy. What is the focus of the camp? Common areas of focus include: sports, music, arts, drama, spiritual, and leadership. The focus of the camp often can predict how well the child will adapt to camp based on previous interests, behaviors, and fellow campers.

Staff Training. It is important to consider if the camp allows appropriate numbers for a low campers-to-staffers ratio (about 10 to 1 for kids ages 8 to 14). The staff should be background-checked, too, with references, an interview, and a criminal-records search. It can be helpful to know the minimum age requirements for staff. It is also important to know if the staff is medically trained in things such as first aid and CPR.

Medical Care. How will the camp provide basic medical care if my child requires it? What types of medical care can and will they provide? Are they trained and certified in medical care? Are there any health restrictions for entering the camp such as lack of immunizations or head lice? If your child takes daily medications or requires a specialized diet or care it is important to know the camp’s policies for these medical issues.

Communication. How will the camp notify parents about pertinent events, as well as notifying them if a child becomes sick or injured? Also it can be important to consider if they have a consistent policy on camper phone/internet use.  Encouraging your child to build new friendships at camp should be balanced with your child’s need to stay in touch with their familiar routine at home so many experienced camps will have guidelines on camper and family communication.

Please call our office if you have questions about your child’s readiness for camp or if your child needs a camp physical.  We can often complete a camp form and immunization record from the information garnered at your child’s annual well visit and save you a trip!

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