Summer is fast approaching. Some of you know exactly what you and your children will be doing over summer vacation. The percentage of students and families that vacation during the summer is below average compared to previous years. In our current economic state many families find it hard (if not impossible) to spend the time and money on “summer vacations.” The pour economy has also lead a rise with many parents working full time throughout the summer break. Many parents, including myself, will work all summer to save the small amount of vacation time accrued toward winter break – where many of us will celebrate the holiday season.
“Where am I going with this,” you ask? Well, if you are planning on working this summer you will probably need to find a suitable summer camp for your child(ren). This is one task in which I find many parents struggle with as the school year closes to an end. Looking for a good, no great, summer camp is rather a daunting task. It requires extensive research into price, location, counselors, etc… Now I cannot give you advise on where to send your child(ren) nor do I want to – everyone is different and will have a different view on each summer camp. But what can do is help narrow down your time spent on looking for a camp by knowing the information you should be looking for.
Before you start your journey into the summer camp scene, ask your child(ren), “What do you want to do this summer? Ask yourself, “What do I want my child(ren) to gain from camp?” Odds are, no camp can offer all of the expectations and needs you require but it should come pretty close. Many camps are co-ed which can offer social interactions. Others are mainly outdoors which can offer lots of exercise and time in the sun. These camps can be very different in style but, in contrast, offer different experiences to fit your need.
The type of camp you choose can vary according to day camp, overnight camp, co-ed, boys only or girls only. These camps, as you can see, offer very different social interaction and development skills. Your family first needs to decide whether or not co-ed or single-sex camps will fill the social requirements of your child(ren). Next choose between sleep away camps or day camps. Which type of camp will fit your schedule and budget will greatly influence your style of camp. Traditionally, day camps are recommended for young children while sleep away camps can offer a more diverse schedule and developmental program for older children. Younger children which have not spent much time away from home can produce feelings of homesickness and thus effect the summer camp experience.
Another major factor to consider when choosing the perfect camp would be the activities in which the camp focuses. Team sports, individual sports, water sports, adventure, creative arts, performing arts and science are among the many activities which a summer camp can offer. Most often, day camps focus primarily on one of these programs. You should know if you would like your child(ren) to gain strength in their favorite sport, acquire experience in the great outdoors, outperform on stage or explore and gain further knowledge in the sciences. Sleep away camps often have a well diverse schedule of activities ranging from sports to performing arts. The activities and programs in which the camps focus will directly affect the student and both parent and child should agree on.
Camps come in all shapes and sizes. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right summer camp. Both child and parent should be on the same page with a higher goal in mind. Remind your child(ren) that camp is fun and should be embraced with an open mind. And if you should be sending a child off for the first time this year, remember summer camps enrich your child’s life and any investment toward your child’s future will always produce great dividends.