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Five Essential Tips for Choosing a Summer Camp

For most kids across the Valley, the school year is ending soon- leaving many parents wonding what summer camps will work best for their children.

Five tips for choosing the right summer camp

There are adventure, sports, art, and educational camps all over the city and it is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of choices. To make these decisions a little less daunting for mom, here are five tips on picking the right summer camp for your kids.

1. Determine what activities really interest your child

In order to determine the right summer camp for your child, you must do some research. First, consider the activities in which your child has an active interest. Is she “sporty”? Is he always jumping in the water? Does she enjoy crafts? One of the key elements in ensuring summer camp success is to target what excites your child. This will help narrow what camps you want to consider. Also, factor in whether you want to do an overnight or day camp, how much structure you wantin the camp day, and consider the commute time from your home.

2. Don’t hesitiate to ask other parents and neighbors

The best advice on what camps to choose for your children often comes from people who you know and trust. Ask parents and neighbors what they thought about a particular summer camp and whether they recommend it. Inquire specifically about what they liked, disliked and whether or not they believe it will be a good fit based on what they know about your child.

3. Investigate the camp’s accreditation and safety plan

Assess what accreditation the camp has in place. Don’t be afraid to ask for a certificate to prove accreditation. The American Camp Association is an organization that issues accreditation to ensures the safety of the camp and shows that they are seeking an independent means of checks and balances. This association also works with the American Red Cross and American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, ask for the blueprint for the specific designated evacuation plans, fire exits, and what measures are in place in case there is a weather, fire, or unforeseen emergency.

4. Consider the cost of camp

The price of camps can vary greatly. It is crucial to decide how much you want to spend on a camp. If finances are an issue, check with the summer camp to assess whether there is a part-time option or reduced tuition alternative. Some summer camps offer scholarships for their programs. Also, check with outside foundations to find out whether they sponsor a child for a particular summer program. Your child’s regular school might also have discount coupons for specific summer camps.

5. Determine size and gender of camp 

The number of kids in a summer camp is important. If your child is comfortable with a smaller pool of kids, inquire about this prior to enrollment. In addition, ask about the student-to-teacher ratio of the camp. If a staffer is overwhelmed by the number of students, it could potentially lead to a negative experience. Finally, camps can be co-ed or single gender. Know your preferences before enrolling your child into camp.

Choosing a summer camp can be easy if you assess exactly what will work for your kids as well as your schedule. So take a deep breath and remember: CAMP is FUN!

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