Choosing a summer camp with your child is a fun experience - but also requires some serious consideration. Find out how to make sure your child has a great summer experience.
- Traditional vs. Specialty Camp Is your child a sports fanatic or a nature lover? Be sure to discuss how he would like to spend the summer, and then find a camp with the right specialization for the best fit.
Day Camp or Sleepaway? Do you want your camper to spend the summer on her own, or still be home in time for dinner? Consider your child's level of independence, and be sure she's ready for a summer away from home before you start packing any bags.
Related: Summer Camp Packing List
- Coed vs. Same-Sex When you consider this factor, remember that there are some gray areas. A coed camp may offer separate gender-specific activities, and brother/sister single-sex camps may link up for dinners, dances, and ghost stories.
Happy Campers Are any counselors former campers? Many teens who love their summers at camp elect to become counselors once they've outgrown camper status - a great indication that your child will enjoy his experience, too.
Related: Summer Camp Care Package Ideas
- Camp Wars Camp pride and camp wars can create a competitive - but mischievous - atmosphere. Make sure there is structure in daily programs and not too much room to float around unsupervised.
- Food Food is important - not just for taste and enjoyment, but for healthy growth. If "bug juice" and s'mores are the only items on the menu, find a camp that offers a well-rounded meal plan.
Refund Policy Odds are your child will love her summer. But just in case, ask about each camp's refund policy in the event your child isn't happy.
Related: Must Haves for Campers
- Medical Facilities Many stories start with, "I got this scar at camp...." Your child may have his own version, so make sure the camp is equipped to handle everything from the common cold to a serious emergency.
- Indoor Recreation What about bad weather? Ask what indoor recreation backup plans are in place should outdoor activities get rained out.
- Distance Consider how far you are sending your kids. The further away they are from home, the greater the cost of travel for weekend visits.
- By Jesse Sposato
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