Research Camp Programs
Area camp and education program experts provide the following recommendations when choosing camps:
* Search websites and attend camp fairs. Browse, ask questions and pick up booklets, fliers, brochures, etc.
* Ask other parents where their children went to camp last year, whether it was a good experience, and if they plan to return.
* Talk with the camp director and past campers and their parents to learn about the culture, values and program offered to see if it’s a good fit for your child.
* Get to know the organization running the camp to determine if it’s a place you and your child feel comfortable with and like to visit.
* Visit the camp with your child. Take a tour, check out the lodging (for residential camps), meet the staff, and explore the various activities and spaces.
* Ask questions that will help give you the feel of a camp’s environment, not just the activities.
* Learn how the day is structured: snack time, play time, rest/nap time, variety of programs, indoor and outdoor activities, activity length, and amount of free time and choices.
* Look for accreditation status, such as the American Camping Association.
Other things to consider and questions to ask:
* How many campers attend? Ages?
* How are campers grouped (topic, age, combination)?
* What is the camper-to-staff ratio?
* What is the camp director’s background?
* What type of training and experience do the counselors have?
* Are background checks completed on staff?
* What percentage of counselors returns each year?
* How are behavioral and disciplinary problems handled?
* How does the camp handle special needs and health concerns?
* What emergency plans are in place?
* Are parents welcome to drop in at any time?
* Does the cost fit your budget?
* How far are you willing to drive?