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How to Choose a Summer Camp

Before you choose a camp for your child it is important to think about your child's personality and decide what camp programs will benefit him or her the most. When looking at camps, make sure to include your child in the decision. Think about your child's special interests and decide what kind of camp your child benefit from. For example, does your child need structure or is social interaction with other children important, or does your child need to be encouraged to develop at their own pace? Is your child ready for a sleep-over experience? There are so many questions you have to ask yourself before deciding on a camp.

There are many different types of camps available, from traditional camps, to computer and sports camps. The camp you choose should match your child's interests and needs. There are many camps that focus on a particular interest, for example, computers, the environment, sports, performing arts, or music. Make sure the camp offers activities that will keep your child entertained and interested. Most general camps provide programs in sports such as baseball, soccer, tennis, swimming, sailing, horseback riding as well as hiking and canoeing. In making a decision about a camp, it is important for you to look at the total camp program and make sure the quality of the staff support that program.

At resident camps, children stay for extended periods from five days to eight weeks. They sleep in cabins and tents and participate in a variety of supervised activities. Day camps provide programs for children ages 5 to 15. They are usually coed programs and are similar to resident camps, but without sleeping quarters. The children are usually brought by bus or van to the camp each morning and taken home in the late afternoon.

How to Choose a Camp

1. Find out what camps your child’s friends enjoy and find out what camps are in the area.

2. Contact camps and ask them to send you information. There are many camps that can give you brochures, webpages or personal support for your questions. Make a list of things important to you and your child and ask about the things that interest and concern you.

3. If your child is involved in Scouting or church, there are often camps nearby for those organizations.

Here are a few good questions to ask:

Who is on the staff? College students and graduates and former campers are a good gauge of quality.

What types of activities are available? Look for a wide variety of choices.

What type of equipment is available? For example, if your child is interested in a computer camp, the camp should have the latest computers and software available. If they will be canoeing or hiking, the equipment should be in good condition.

How old is the camp? A camp that has been around for a long time has the experience that will serve your child the best.

What is the staff to camper ratio? Keep this ratio in mind if your child needs extra attention.

Are there medical facilities available in case of an emergency? How far is the nearest hospital? Are there any physical, intellectual, or social limitations that should be considered?

How long is the session? Camps can fit within any family's busy schedule. Sessions usually run from five days to 8 weeks. Some camps are year-round and others have seasonal programs throughout the year.

How much does it cost? Camp can an affordable option for anyone regardless of background or location. The cost is usually between $15.00 to $55.00 per day for nonprofit youth groups and day camps. Independent private camps cost somewhere between $35.00 and $80.00 per day.

Ask for references so you will get the best picture of the camp from people who have had first hand experience with a particular camp.

Not every camp is right for every child. With proper planning and research you should be able to find a camp that will meet your child's needs and interests. This should be a wonderful experience that your child will cherish and remember and forever.

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