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How to Pick the Right Summer Camp for Your Children

May 26, 2017 12:00 AM

Are you a parent who has fond memories of attending a summer camp? If so, no doubt this is an experience that you’ll want to pass along to your children. There are many different summer camps available to kids these days. Some may be a day camp, while others are sleep over camps. Some camps concentrate on the arts, like ballet, music and other artistic abilities, other camps focus on rugged, outdoor activities, like camping in tents, horseback riding. Math and science may be the emphasis of some camps, while others have a religious affiliation. Whatever the case may be and whatever your child’s interest, there’s a camp out there for her.

But how do you know which camp will best suit your child and give her a lifetime of memories? Let us help. Below are a few tips for choosing a camp for your child:

· Talk to your child – Depending on the age of your child, you may want to send her to a day camp if she’s in grade school. But if she’s older, say 11 or 12 years old, you may want to talk to her about the possibility of a sleepover camp. If you both fee that she is ready for that kind of experience, then you can start looking for camps that offer that experience. You will also want to talk to your child about her interests and if there are new things that she’d like to learn. If she has artistic talent with drawing, but would like to learn how to play a musical instrument, a camp that encourages the arts is a great place to try the instrument to see if it’s something she enjoys. If so, then you can discuss the music lessons when she gets home from camp. Who knows, maybe it will be something that she’ll want to pursue. Camp is definitely a great place to start.

· How far away is the camp? – This is another factor that you will want to consider. Is the camp local enough to get to your child in the event of an emergency? Is the camp in the next state over and a few hours away? This is something that you will want to consider, especially if your child is a youngster. Something you need to consider is your daughter’s temperament. Is she a homebody? How do you think she’ll do if she was far from home? Do you think a day camp will suit her better than an overnight camping experience?

· Be a detective and do some investigating – Now that you’ve narrowed down the kind of camp your daughter wants to attend, you can begin looking into the camps in your area, and just in case, you may want to check out camps that are a few hours away. The internet is a great tool for this. Many camp websites have a chat feature these days as well as a “Contact Us” page. Either is a great way to ask your questions. Some of the information you will want to know is what is their hiring process like, do they perform background check on their employees? What is the camper to counselor ratio, what are their disciplinary measures? What is their medical staff like, do they give prescriptions to children who have to take them and what are their emergency services or what their emergency procedure is, is a nurse on-call, or is she on the premises? Some other questions you may have if you have a child has food allergies is what their food preparation is like. Do they keep peanuts stored away from other foods, or do they offer a gluten-free menu for children that have a gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease? You may also want to request a copy of their policies and procedures as well as a copy of items to pack for camp. Of course, price is always important to find out. Many camps offer a scholarship or financial aid for families that qualify. If the camp is reasonably close in proximity, you and your family may want to visit the camp. This will give you a better picture of how the camp “feels.” You may even be able to meet the nurse or some of the camp counselors and get an overall vibe of the camp. Is it too structured, do you think that it has a friendly atmosphere to it? Visiting camps is a great way to learn about them and the programs they offer children, especially yours.

Now that you have gathered all of this information, it will help you narrow down your choices. Once you have chosen a few camps that you are comfortable with, talk to your child about what you discovered and take it from there. It’s important that your child feel like they are making the decision with you, especially if they are older. Making her a part of the camp decision-making process will help her have a better camping experience in general. On to making wonderful memories at camp. To learn more about the Mad Science Camp experience click here.

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