Every year around this time my daughter and I start looking at camps that she wants to attend over the summer. Sending your child to camp can be overwhelming for the first time. When picking a camp think about your child’s interests. You may also want to consider your family finances. How much can you afford to spend on the camp? Are there special items you need to purchase for the camp?
To have a successful camp experience, remember to include your child in the decision making process. Check out the camp website – you should be able to see pictures of the area and activities which will help your child get excited about going to camp. If there are reviews by campers, take time to read them.
American Camp Association suggests you consider these things before enrolling your child:
• What locale do we want to consider? (mountains, ocean, distance from home)
• Do we want a traditional camp that gives my child a wide variety of experiences or do we want a specialty camp that focuses on a particular activity or set of skills?
• What size enrollment will make my child feel comfortable?
• How rustic do we want the camp to be?
• How structured do we want the program to be?
• Does my child want lots of choice in the activity schedule?
• Is my child ready to sleep away from home for an extended stay? This will help you to select either a resident or day camp setting.
• What session length will appeal to my child and to our family plans for the summer? (One week? Two weeks? Eight weeks?)
• How can we stay in touch with my child during camp? Does the camp allow mail, phone calls, texting or e-mail? Does the camp have parent visitation days?
• How will the camp meet my child’s special dietary or physical needs?
• What is my budget for camp tuition? Remember, many camps offer financial aid.
There are many things to consider when selecting a camp. Think about your family, your child and their needs and interests before registering. Make the camping experience a positive way for your child to gain independence, learn new skills, and make new friends.
American Camp Association
Writer: Brenda Sandman-Stover, Program Assistant, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reveiwer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, email@example.com