There are well over 5,000 summer camps in the United States. There are traditional camps, sports camps, girls camps, boys camps, riding camps, academic camps, wilderness adventure camps, clown camps, surf camps, day camps, overnight camps…you get the idea. So the question is not how to find a camp, but how to find the best camp, or better, how do I find the right camp for my child? Here a few a few ideas that we found helpful when we sent our own children to camp.
- Involve your child in the decision. A child who is adamant about not being at camp be slower to experience the best parts of camp. A great counselor will eventually win over just about everyone, but campers with some degree of buy-in will be the happiest soonest.
- Make the final decision yours. You need to be even more excited about the program than your camper. If you are uncomfortable with a camp then keep looking. My parents were camp directors so when they sent me to camp they chose two camps that they trusted. They then handed me the brochures and let me decide. It was a great mix of involving me while keeping control of the process.
- A lot of campers feel more comfortable going to camp with a friend. This is fine; it may help with pre-camp jitters. However, after the first several hours most children have made friends with every child in their cabin. Simply put, camp is not school; we live together so close friendships form very quickly. You should certainly consider where your child’s friends go to camp, but do not limit yourself to those camps alone.
- It’s all about the counselors! Look hard at how the camp hires staff. How many were former campers? How many return each year? How many are hired through international staffing services? Ask about their grades, where they go to school, what interview questions they are asked. If you choose the right camp your camper will be there summer after summer for many years and a great staff will become a wonderful part of their growing up.
We’ll try to add to this list over the next several weeks, but if you cannot wait then please call any time. We love camp and would be happy to help you find the best fit for your camper.
Adam and Ann