How to Choose a Summer Camp For Your Child
Is your child ready for summer camp? Now comes the work of choosing a camp that's right for her. This article will help parents make a well-informed choice of camp. While there's no easy way to find the best camp for your child, some basic guidelines will definitely help.
Make sure you're choosing a camp based on your child's needs and desires, and not solely on your own preferences. Ask yourself some questions:
- What do you and your child want from camp? Skills, self confidence, independence?
- Does your child have any special interests?
- Are there any physical, intellectual, or social to consider?
- Is your child ready for a sleepaway experience?
- How long are the sessions?
The answers to these questions should give you a good idea of the specific characteristics to keep in mind as you choose a camp.
Boys & Girls
Most overnight camps can be coed, all boys, all girls, or brother/sister. In a coed camp, kids boy and girls are together, using common facilities such as waterfront and dining hall. Brother/sister camps may have some social interaction but offer mostly separate activities and facilities for boys and girls. They may be located adjacent to each other or may be miles apart.
Nonprofit camps, are less expensive than private sleepaway camps. Consider the costs of camp in comparison with the amount you'd spend on food, entertainment, and childcare if your child stays home for all or part of a summer. Make sure to estimate the extras involved in going to camp, such as a uniform, trip charges, transportation, the cost of you visiting the camp, and spending money for your child.
A camp can range anywhere from one week to an entire summer. According to the National Camp Association, Inc., prices ranges are as follows:
- One-week: $400-$2,000
- Two-week: $800-$4,000
- Four-week: $1,500-6,000
- Full Season (7-9 weeks): $3,000-$9,000
Activities are the meat of the camp. Some camps emphasize one activity while others offer a wide variety of programs. Here's a list of commonly offered camp activities:
- Team Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Field Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Roller Hockey, Ice Hockey.
- Individual Sports: Archery, Fencing, Fishing, Golf, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Wrestling, Track&Field, Biking, Minibikes, Go-karts, Weight Training, Riding, Riflery, Tennis, Figure Skating, Aerobics.
- Watersports: Canoeing, Kayaking, Diving, Sailing, Scuba, Snorkeling, Swimming, Waterskiing, Jet-skiing, Windsurfing
- Adventure: Rope Courses, Backpacking, Camp Crafts, Rafting, Rock Climbing, Outdoor Cooking, Overnights, Hiking
- Creative Arts: Basketry, Drawing, Jewelry, Leatherwork, Metalwork, Crafts, Painting, Cooking, Writing, Photography, Sculpture, Weaving, Stained Glass, Woodwork, Film/Video, Sewing, Journalism, Ceramics
- Performing Arts: Acting, Directing, Magic, Puppetry, Script Writing, Costuming, Lighting, Makeup, Set Construction, Broadcasting, Ballet, Rock Music, Jazz, Choreography, Folk Dance, Modern Dance, Instrumental, Voice, Circus Arts
- Science: Geology, Gardening, Biology, Marine Biology, Farming, Nature, Astronomy, Rocketry, Ecology, Computing, Archaeology, Physics, Radio, Aviation
- Education: Foreign Language, Remedial Tutoring, Academic Enrichment, English as a Second Language (ESL), SAT Prep
- Travel: Teen Tours, Community Service, Biking, Wilderness
Ask camp coordinators the following questions to make sure your child gets the kind of experience you are both looking for:
- Does the program encourage the child to try new things?
- What is the philosophy regarding competition and competitiveness?
- Which activities are required?
- Is instruction given in each activity?
- How structured is the program?
Do you require a camp to accommodate for your child's special needs?
· Weight Loss
· Kosher Food
· Special Diet
· Learning Disabled
· Attention Deficit Disorder
· Non-English Speaking
· Physically Disabled
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