Summer camp is a big deal. It can alter the way your child sees the world, the friendships they have for life, and the experiences that shape them…. but no pressure. How to choose the right summer camp can feel like a balancing act. Between scheduling, finances, interests, distance, there is a lot to consider.
Here is a checklist of the things we think you need to consider when choosing the right summer camp for your kids.
1) Financial Decisions
This is often the top reason to select one camp over another. Day camp varies from approximately $25 to $150 a day. Some things that influence the price are the type of camp the location, but it’s also worth inquiring about the price. The following may be included in the price, making the high price tag fit your budget after all.
-Is any food is provided
-whether a bus service is provided
-Is there before and aftercare services if you require a late pick-up?
-Our day trip costs included
Depending on where you live, you may have access to YMCA camps, Parks and recreation, or other local camps that may offer subsidies.
2) Your kid’s interests
This is a huge deal. A big of summer camp as a kid is exploring areas that they don’t experience during the school year. There are so many great options these days. It’s a time when the kids who don’t thrive in the classroom can finally find themselves, and the kids who bounce off the walls all year sitting at a desk can finally burn off some energy at soccer camp.
Everything from music, sports, language, outdoor activities, horse riding, coding, or even camps, especially for kids with medical conditions (diabetic camp, for example), there is truly something for everyone. Your job as a parent is to find the right fit. The right kind of camp for your child is easy to find; a quick google search of camps in your areas will bring you to all your options.
Finding a good fit means that you’ll send your kid to camp after the school year and see a new kid return. Stronger, healthier, happier, and thriving. We encourage you to narrow down the camp to fit the interest of your child, and you’ll reap buckets full of rewards!
3) Safety and protocols
It is always wise to check any camps your considering for an ACA, OCA, or similarly accredited, depending on where you’re from. ACA’s accreditation This process evaluates the site, food safety, health care, transportation, management, staffing, and program elements such as water safety. These days, covid protocols is also top of mind. Again, this is something to look for and consider as you narrow down your search. In addition, you have every right to reach out to the camp director and ask about other health and safety protocols, the accreditation of their staff, etc.
4) The right fit for the family
Some families find that sleepaway camp is the right fit; perhaps parents work late or travel often. Or maybe parents have more time during the summer and can enjoy family BBQs in the evening. This is a personal decision that only you can make. How will camp fit into the family life?
No matter how much we’d love to send our kids to the most ideal camp, it isn’t always possible. And you’re not a bad parent if you don’t select the perfect camp for your child; you have a whole family to consider, so drop the guilty feeling. Make sure you consider:
- Camp times- can you make it work with your schedule?
- Location- do you require public transport, do they offer a bus, do the times work with your schedule for pick up?
- Can you carpool with friends or family?
6) Multiple kids? You need to consider this.
If you have more than one child, the camp logistics get a little more difficult if you send them to different camps. You need to consider pick-up times of multiples and all the logistics around scheduling.
Sometimes, it can be great to send kids to camp at different times. That way, kids at home with parents, friends, or family can also get excellent one-on-one time.
Check the dates the camp runs and make sure it doesn’t coincide with a family vacation away, cottage time, or grandma’s visit!
8) Check the demographics
Make sure the kids in the camp are of similar age demographic; a good rule of thumb is to age up, so don’t put your child with the grade they’ve just finished, but with the grade, they’re heading into.
9) Ask Around
The best way to get an idea of a camp is to ask around and speak to other parents who have attended, they won’t hold back on any negative reviews, and it’s always a good sign when a child returns year after year.
10) Ask Your Child
Maybe they have different thoughts about camp than you know; perhaps they’ve had their heart set on an overnight camp but have never mentioned it. Or maybe they want to attend with their best friend, or try horse riding?? It would help if you had an open and honest conversation about their desires, expectations, and what’s reasonable for your family. Make sure to involve them in the process!
If you’re wondering about the overall benefits of camp, click here for 6 Reasons Summer Camp is Totally Worth it
Don’t forget, before your head off to camp to get yourself organized!