Summer Camp Fun Guide

By Carla Dragnea

Summer camp – it’s more than a vacation.  It’s a place where your child can develop independence, new skills and the ability to make friends.

Summer camp can encourage an appreciation of the outdoors, foster a spirit of teamwork and cooperation and encourage your child to explore talents, interests and values.

If you are planning to enroll your child in a camp this summer, there are several things you should consider when choosing a program.

1. Day or Residential?  Summer camps come in a variety of lengths.  Half-day and day camps are great for a child’s first camp experience and also work well for children who don’t like to be away from home, or want a camp with a variety of activities. Residential camps, on the other hand, can last anywhere from one week to the entire summer, depending upon the type of program chosen.  They offer the opportunity for children to gain independence in an away-from-home setting and also offer a little extra time to focus on activities and friendships.

2. Type of Camp.  To help make camp a fun and memorable experience for your child, you need to find a program that fits your child’s age and interests.  If your child loves sports or arts or dance, try to find a program which offers that activity.

3. General or Specialized.  General camps offer a variety of activities that include recreation (land and water), arts and crafts, individual and team activities, and games. Specialized camps offer instruction in one or two very focused skills such as the performing arts, a particular sport or academic pursuits.

4. Cost of Camp.  While researching the cost of the camp program, make sure to learn the total cost.  Are there additional charges for some of the activities?  Are you expected to provide transportation, meals or equipment?  What is the refund policy if your child gets sick or something unexpected comes up at the last minute?  Keep in mind that private camps tend to be pricier than their nonprofit counterparts.

5. Duration of Camp.  How long does your child want to spend at a camp?  There are day camps where campers attend only during the day for as many weeks as they like. There are also a wide variety of overnight camps, lasting anywhere from one week to the entire summer.  Even if your child plans to spend a large part of the summer in camp, be sure to leave a few weeks free for them to just chill.

6. Accreditation and Referrals.  Ask teachers, parents and even other kids for their summer camp suggestions.  Good referrals can go a long way to helping you feel more comfortable with your camp selection.

Cheers to a wonderful, full of fun summer!

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