Choosing the Right Summer Camp: Consider These Factors Before Picking a Camp for Your Child

By Laurie Evans

Summer camps (and spring break camps, too) come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Day camps and overnight camps, half-day and full-day, overnight or not, parents have options to fit any schedule.

Kids have options that range from arts and academics to sports and outdoor skills. Central Kentucky boasts such a large number of varied camp programs that parents can pick and choose from a virtual smorgasbord of options.

Want a half-day camp for preschoolers to introduce basketball skills? Check. A full day theater camp? You got it.

A week-long overnight camp that focuses on recycled art projects? Got that too!

The challenge for parents comes when they try to pick the camp program that fits their family best.

While it is obvious that you have to pick a camp that has a schedule that works with your family and that interests your child, other factors are worthy of consideration.

The following provides questions and answers.

Questions to Consider
1. Will the kids attend camp full time because both parents work?

Many camps offer start and end times that sync well with working parents’ schedules, but other factors are worth considering if your child will attend most of summer.

Make sure the program offers a varied schedule so that kids aren’t doing the same activities week after week.

Camps that focus on one major activity such as swimming or basketball may bore your child by mid-summer.

2. If you choose a themed camp, what level of instruction do you seek?
Summer camps are ideal for introducing children to sports and arts programs.

Your kids can learn to swim, learn to paint pottery or climb mountains during a week at camp.

The important question to ask is what level of instruction your child will receive.

Is this a basketball camp for first time players or an advanced skills camp?

Will your child spend most of every camp day painting pottery or just a half hour of each camp day?

3. What is your child’s style?
And by style we don’t mean fashion!

Think about how your child likes to spend his day. Do you have an active child who needs to burn off energy?

A sedentary child who needs to get up and move? An inquisitive child who wants to learn?

These factors can impact how well your child enjoys his time at camp.

Get Answers at Camp Fair
Lexington Family Magazine will print its annual Summer Camp Guide in our April issue.

You can meet with the directors and counselors of many of these programs at our Annual Summer Camps & Activities Fair on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lexington Christian Academy.

When you come to the Fair here are a list of questions you may want to ask the camp professionals to help choose the best program for your family.

  • What are the camp schedules like? Ask about drop-off and pick up times, early and late drop off.
  • What is a typical day like at the camp? Is it a structured program or one with an emphasis on free choice?
  • What is the age range of children in the program? Are campers grouped by age?
  • Who are the camp counselors? What is the minimum age of the counselors and what sort of training do they receive?
  • If the camp offers training in a sport or skill, how much of the day is devoted to that? How much skill do children need before they attend the camp?
  • How much does the camp vary from week to week? Will my child become bored if she attends more than a few weeks of the program?