20 Questions to Help You Find the Right Summer Camp
Ask, and you shall receive. No matter how daunting the camp process may seem, by doing your homework, you'll find the summer program that's the answer.
Just hearing the words ‘summer camp’ brings a nostalgic rush of gleeful memories filled with close friendships, lake adventures, and carefree summer days. As parents and caregivers, we have hundreds of options to choose from; sounds great at first, until you start looking at all these programs and get overwhelmed. The process can feel a bit daunting, but we have come up with a few key questions to keep handing to simplify the selection process. Start now, and know that then you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the summer knowing that your kids are playing their hearts out and loving every simple memory made.
Round One: Before you start searching
You may already have a few programs on your short list. Or maybe you don’t even know what your neighborhood offers. Before you dive into a zealous Google search, step back and ask yourself a few key questions first. Be honest with yourself. Knowing these facts from the start will help you narrow in on the camps that are best for your family efficiently.
1. Do you want a day camp or an overnight camp?
2. What is your budget (per week)?
3. Where geographically does this camp need to be to work with your schedule (near home, near work, etc.)?
4. Do you want a traditional camp with many daily activities or a specialty camp where your kids can enhance a particular skill set?
Round Two: Doing your first search
By now you probably have a list of programs jotted down on a piece of paper or on your computer. You know these are programs near you and in your budget. But which will make your kids happy? Do you know what they are hoping to get our of their summer? Sit down over dinner one night and find out!
5. What do you want to do this summer?
6. Do you have anything special that you are interested in learning about?
7. Do you want to go to camp with friends or make new friends?
8. What new things would you like to accomplish this summer?
Round Three: Getting the prospects
The insight you receive from your children should help you cut a few from the massive list of camps. You think you have some great options, and you probably do. But next, confirm that with someone who has been there and done that. Parents and kids who can share a real-life testimonial with you are a priceless resource. Ask around – you probably can get to someone who has tried your summer camp in question faster thank you think with our Philly Family Community on Facebook.
9. What did you like/not like about a specific camp?
10. What do you wish you knew before your first camp experience?
11. Kids – is there anything you with your parents had done differently?
12. What was the best/worst part of your camp experience and why?
Round Four: Interview time
You now have your short list. It might even be just one camp that seems your perfect match. Websites are a great place to get to know someone, but to get the real feel for a camp, go seem them in person. Visit a camp fair they are attending, or join them for an pen house. Talk with someone who will be with your child everyday to ensure the marketing matches the true feel of the program. Be sure to get these finer details squared away, too.
13. What is the camp philosophy?
14. How are staff screened and trained?
15. Is the staff CPR and First Aid Certified?
16. What is the return rate of staff?
17. What is the return rate of campers?
18. What discipline methods are used and how do you resolve conflict between campers?
19. How are emergencies handled and how are parents notified?
20. What is a typical daily schedule like?
TIP: If food is provided, ask for a sample menu.
Round Five: Bonus round
Get the forms, fill them out and sign your kids up for a summer to remember.
They’ll be so thrilled, you’ll find yourself asking yourself one more question:
Why do the kids get to have all the fun?