Where do you even begin to choose a summer camp that is suitable for your child? She might already have one in mind, but your job is to make sure it’s the right fit.
Choosing a new camp, especially an overnight camp, requires proper vetting. Just as you wouldn’t send your child to a sleepover at a complete stranger’s house, you must do your research when it comes to camp.
The right answers will allow you to drop your child off with peace of mind this summer.
The American Camp Association recommends asking the following questions to help choose a camp that is a safe and supportive environment for your child.
What is the camp philosophy?
Does the camp reinforce your own parenting philosophy?
Speak directly to the camp director and ask for a description of the camp’s philosophy and examples of how it’s carried out.
You should get a sense if this camp suits your child’s personality and learning style.
What is the camp director’s background?
The ACA recommends that the director possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, have completed in-service training within the past three years and have at least 16 weeks of administrative experience before assuming the responsibilities of director.
You also want a director who communicates well and responds to your inquiries with understanding.
What training do counselors receive?
At a minimum, camp staff should be trained in safety regulations, emergency procedures and communication, behavior management techniques, child abuse prevention, appropriate staff and camper behavior and specific procedures for supervision.
You can also ask what qualities the director looks for when hiring counselors.
Does the camp value compassion and trustworthiness?
Find out what characteristics camp officials want their staff to possess.
How does the camp handle behavioral issues?
This truly reflects a camp’s philosophy. The rules should be well-communicated in advance and seem fair. Make sure you find the system reasonable before registering.
Homesickness is common among campers, and many camps have guidelines for parent-child communication during camp.
Talk about these guidelines with your child to make sure you are both comfortable with their policies.
Can the camp provide references?
References are an ideal way to get the scoop on a camp. A fellow parent can offer insight and answer questions from a different perspective than the director.