Summer is almost here and you are already thinking about summer plans for your child. Are you considering summer camp for your child? If you are, you may be overwhelmed at all the choices you have. Here is how you can choose the best summer camp for your child and ensure they have a great summer at the same time.
Choose the type of summer camp– The first thing you need to do when choosing a summer camp is to choose the type of summer camp you want to send your child to. This will help you narrow down a list to focus on. Day camp is usually a 6 to 8-hour program that is Monday through Friday. Overnight camp is usually for kids 7 or 8 and older, where kids spend 2 to 4 weeks. Specialty camps are focused on one particular interest. For instance, there is dance camp, basketball camp and science camp.
Make a list of local summer camps– There are a few websites that will help you find summer camps in your area. The American Camp Association has a listing of over 3,500 camps that are accredited. Being accredited by the American Camp Association means that the summer camp has met state standards. Another great site is Summer Camps, which allows you to filter your search by not only your local area, but also by interest, overnight camps and special needs camps.
Call or visit to ask questions– This is probably the most important step in the process. There are questions you want answers to before making that final decision. Here are some of the more important questions to ask:
• How is your staff screened, hired and trained? All staff should have background checks done and have completed first aid training.
• What is the camper to staff ratio? According to the American Camp Association, day camps should have a ratio of 1 counselor per 8, 10 or 12 kids, depending on their age and overnight camps should have a ratio of 1 counselor per 6, 8 or 10 kids, again depending on their age.
• How are conflicts between campers handled, should they arise? The practices that the summer camp uses to handle these conflicts should be in line with your parenting practices.
• What is a typical day like for the campers? There should be a mixture between structured activities, indoor activities, outdoor activities and free time.
• Is there a medical staff that is always onsite? There aren’t any federal guidelines in place, the majority of states have guidelines when it comes to summer camp healthy and safety concerns. Overnight camps should have either a licensed doctor or a registered nurse onsite. Day camps, at the minimum, should have direct phone access to the local doctor.
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