Choosing a Summer Camp For Your Child

Summer camp has been one of the highlights of my daughter’s year each and every year. She began going to overnight summer camp when she was just ten years old. This past summer she was a counselor for other ten year olds for the entire summer.My older daughter did not attend overnight camps, but instead loved the day camps. She went to day camps until she outgrew them, enjoying each and every summer.There are many camp options available. Here is my list of what to look for:1. If you are sending your kids to day camp, do the hours and days of the camp work for your schedule? If they don’t, does the camp offer before care and/or after care?2. Whether a day camp or an overnight camp, does the camp have a reputation you are happy with? A few camps my daughters were interested in had received very poor recommendations.3. What does an average day at camp look like? If you have a very active child and the activities are singing and art, this is not a good fit. On the flip side if you have a child that really dislikes sports and sports are offered three times per day, this again is not a good fit.4. If the camp is an overnight camp, what are the rules about allowing kids to call home? My daughter has been at camps that do allow cell phones and camps that don’t allow cell phones.5. For day camps, are snacks provided? How are lunches stored? It can get to over 100 degrees outdoors and that’s not ideal for a lunch to sit out.6. For younger kids, is sun screen applied on a regular basis and are liquids offered throughout the day? These are important to your child’s health and well being.7. What is the cost of the camp and if you need financial help do they offer scholarships? Camps have varying costs depending on activities.8. Are field trips offered? We’ve had field trips offered at both day camps and at overnight camps. What type of transportation is offered on these trips and are the kids left alone at all? Depending on age, this could make or break having your child attend the camp. At age ten , I would not allow my child to be alone, but at age 16, it’s a very different situation.9. If your child has any allergies or food restrictions, how will the camp handle those?10. For an overnight camp, make sure to choose a length of stay that your child feels comfortable with. At the younger ages, sometimes six to ten days is plenty. When my daughter attended a camp in Washington D.C., four weeks was not long enough. Make sure your child is happy with the length he or she will be away.Summer camps are a wonderful social experience for your child. By asking the above questions, you’ll pick a camp early on and not face already filled rosters.