Believe it or not, summer camp registrations have already begun, even if it is still frigid and snowy outside. Summer camps, especially the specialty ones, can fill up fast, and you want to stay ahead of the pack and get your registration in asap.
But before you do, you also want to make sure you choose the right camp for your child. With so many choices out there, from standard city day camps to camps that focus on sports or the arts as well as sleepaway options, the best one for you and your child is the one that checks all the boxes. Here are some important questions you should ask about the summer camp you’re considering.
What is the age of the camp?
Camp ages vary depending on the groups and activities, so find out the age ranges of the camp and the group your child will be with. Also, your child might be on the cusp of being the younger or older one, which is good to know too.
What is a typical day like?
Your child will be spending a lot of time at summer camp, and it makes good sense to hear about what an average day of camp is. When are snacks and meals? What activities do they do and when? Is their down time? Are there any other components to the camp, such as field trips, etc.? Knowing how the days will unfold gives you a clearer idea of the overall feel of the camp, and then you and your child can discuss it.
What do the specialty camps offer that make them unique?
Specialty sports- or art-based camps can come with a heftier price tag, so it only makes good sense that you find out what sets these apart from the rest. For example, a hockey camp can cost several hundred dollars per week, however every week, your child might be getting as many as 20+ hours of ice time plus one-on-one instructions, expert coaches, and more. When you’re spending that extra money, it’s a good idea to know where those dollars and cents are being used.
Who are the camp counselors?
Summer camps have different methods to their hiring process, and it’s a good idea to find out how they employ camp counsellors. A lot of counsellors are teenagers or young adults, which can be a lot of fun for kids, but what is the camp’s screening process? Do they have any special or additional training, such as CPR or first-aid certification? These are all valid things to ask.
What are the dates of the camp cycle?
Camps don’t run the entire summer – they usually start shortly after the last day of school and then end a few weeks before the new academic year begins in September. Confirm the dates and arrange for childcare on those weeks off, or plan your vacation time from work to coincide with the summer camp schedule.
What is the cost?
It’s best to decide on a budget ahead of time and then find a camp that you can afford. There’s no point in shopping around for camps, finding a cool art camp, and then realizing it’s out of your price range.
Can you visit beforehand?
This is an important one, especially if you’re thinking about sending your child to a sleepaway camp. Not only will it give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the camp, but it’s also a great introduction to your child. It’s especially useful if you have chosen the camp you’re visiting – your child can get the lay of the land, meet some of the staff, and take in the surroundings so that they are more familiar with it when they start.