Some of the best childhood memories are created during the summer recess from school. You can help create the best summer experience for your child by selecting the right summer camp. Whether you are on a budget or plan on splurging for a specialty summer camp, there are a few key things you will want to consider before choosing a camp for your kids.
Today, summer camps offer a variety of camps for every interest under the sun – from music, to sports, fine arts and more. Here are six steps to help you select what’s best for your family:
Find programs that match your child’s interests. Summer camps are a great way to expose kids to interests and activities typically not available at his or her school. While your kid may be into sports or dance, this is a great time to think outside the box and challenge him or her a bit. Consider performing arts, environment, mathematics and the sciences just to name a few.
Visit the potential camp if possible. Go on a rainy day to find out what alternative activities are planned for stormy days. Find out how the daily itinerary is structured. Are kids supervised at all times? Are camp counselors engaged with the children? The American Camp Association suggests preparing a list of questions beforehand to ask camp directors when you visit.
Make sure your child is safe from predators. Ask camp directors what their protocol is for safeguarding against sexual abuse. Every state develops its own criminal background checks on employees 18 years of age and older.
Ask about discounts and scholarships for camp. Sending two or more children to camp can be expensive. Many camps have a reduced schedule of fees for parents sending more than one child to camp and for low-income families. Ask about special rates, early enrollment, repeat camper discounts and additional scholarships.
Does your child have special dietary needs? If your child has diet restrictions such as low fat or vegetarian diets, check with the camp to see if they can make special accommodations. Otherwise, be prepared to pack snacks and lunch for your child.
What other obligations must you consider? Keep other summer obligations such as family reunions and vacations, back-to-school shopping and other fall financial obligations in mind in making your decision.