Choosing an appropriate summer camp for your child can turn out to be very difficult - is it content? Is it location? Is it organizers? What is it that parents look for in idyllic summer camp? NexSchools brings to you a comprehensive guide on ‘How to choose a Summer Camp’.
Summer season is on the way! There are exhilaration and excitement; so you and your child are still wondering what to do during summers? Then your answer is ‘Summer Camps’.
Summer Camps are the perfect getaways for your child during summers. These summer camps not only add a fun element to your child’s vacation, build on the bank of life skills and leave a mark of million memories of a lifetime. Don’t miss to observe a huge difference in them once they come back from the summer camps.
Camps are a great opportunity for them to make new friends for the lifetime. We are recommending some of the points you must consider while choosing a summer camp for your child.
Evaluation of the Last Year’s Summer Camp
Before choosing a summer camp for your child, it is necessary to evaluate the camp organized last year because you need to know whether the camp was appropriate for the children or not? What was the feedback given by the children and their parents? One also need to understand as to what the child has reported to his/her parents after coming back from the camp and also check out the staff at the camp, the leader, the activities, evaluate and weigh all of them before enrolling your child in the camp.
Duration of the Camp
The camp offered to the children might be a day camp or an overnight camp. Both the camps have their own pros and cons. The overnight camp will make your child independent than ever before. The child gets to spend more time with his/her friends. The day camp ensures that the maximum number of activities conducted during a stipulated amount of time, the kids get to enjoy everything in a day thus addressing the safety concerns of the parents.
An overnight camp lasts for multiple nights or weeks so the children can enjoy much more. They make stronger bonds with the fellow campers. They also get a chance to participate in a variety of activities. They learn new skills and get a chance to practice them. They gain self-confidence and independence.
Location of the Camp
You can’t miss the important factor location while choosing a summer camp. There are certain factors that you must keep in your mind while making a selection. The location of the camp must be near to a hospital (incase of emergencies) and should be easily accessible. Infact, it is the location of the camp a determining factor in the type of activities that would be carried out there. For example, campsites could be near forests, mountains, river, meadows or lakes and so are the related activities would be organized.
Nature of the Camp
Choosing a summer camp is based on the nature of the camp, whether it is a co-ed camp or a single-sex camp. Both the type of camps has their own pros and cons. A co-ed camp offers an opportunity to interact with the members of the opposite sex, children understand how to deal with them in a positive way and they also end up developing social skills which help them in the longer run.
Whereas a single-sex camp offers fewer distractions and comes with less pressure to impress the other gender. The camp can also be molded according to their capabilities and needs.
Traditional or Specialised Camp
There are two types of camps available for your children. A ‘Traditional Camp’ which offers wide range of adventure sports like river rafting, canoeing, hiking etc. and also some recreational activities like dance, music, campfire etc. This kind of a camp helps in developing independence, teamwork, leadership skills, cooperation, and appreciation for nature and also gives a chance to make lifelong friends.
A ‘Specialised Camp’ on the other hand aims at developing a particular skill or interest among the campers. These areas are health and fitness, education, language, leadership, religion etc. If your child wants to specifically develop a certain skill, then specialized camp is the one to be chosen.
Different types of camps charge different amount of money, and it is the parents who have to decide as to which camp suits the needs of their children. There are some camps which charge less and provide average acceptable facilities whereas there are some other camps which are more luxurious and hence charge more. A camp might also require special pieces of equipment, which can turn out to be expensive, or maybe a certified instructor. Some other factors that might decide the budget of the camp would be the duration of the camp (longer the stay, expensive the camp would be), the location of the camp (distance of the camp will decide the mode of transportation which in turn will decide the amount for the camp). Having said that, there are certain camps which are nice and luxurious, but offer discounts hence parents can opt for such camps. There are many early bird discounts offered too, so if you have already decided where to head then avail these discounts.
Some of the overnight camps often provide transportation facility where the children are picked up from their homes and dropped off after the camp gets over. This fee is already included in the camp fee and hence this facility is provided to the campers. Apart from this some camps also require parents to drop their child at the camp site. Transportation facility varies from camp to camp. It is always advisable that you must let your child take the transportation provided by the camp operator because it will give your child an opportunity to gel with other campers.
Environment and Facilities Provided During the Camp
Before enrolling your child in a camp, check the facilities being provided by it, the feel of the camp, whether it is welcoming or not? The place should feel secure and well maintained. See if the basic facilities like dining hall, infirmary and tents are in good condition or not. Check whether the camp has all the specialized types of equipment for the prescribed activities or not. It is necessary to see that the camp area has enough space to accommodate the specific number of children. The overall condition of the camp should be good.
Safety and Affiliations
It is necessary on your part to enquire about the safety aspect while enrolling your child for the camp. You must check whether the camp is affiliated with some recognized organization or not? Whether the staff working in the camp is properly trained or not? The camp must always follow the policies written down by the charter. You must also enquire about the safety procedures they carry out in the case of an emergency. Never hesitate to ask questions to the camp organizers because you have all the right to know as you would be sending your child for many days and the camp would be responsible for their safety. Having said that, usually the camps are responsive and so you will get all your questions answered within no time.
Activities and Programs
While doing all the formalities for enrolling your child in a summer camp, inquire about the types of activities that will be conducted during the course of the time. Get to know whether the activities would be elective or would be done by everyone. Whether or not there are specialized training instructors for special activities? You must also see that the activities are competitive and the camp environment is good. All the information about the activities would be given in the camp brochure so go through it carefully. So take the decision carefully.
Before choosing a camp for your child, it is important to know the background of the camp and about its director. For how long the director has been in this industry, is an important question that needs to be asked. There are certain qualities that a camp director must have:
the camp director must be a responsible person,
his main concern should be the safety of all the children on board,
he must hire experienced professionals to carry out the activities on the camp,
should be vigilant and should have foresightedness,
the camp director is also supposed to be supportive and cooperative, and
the one responsible for all the supervision and evaluation of his staff.
The success of the camp always lies in the hands of the leader.
Forms for the Camp
After the basic registration of your child into the camp is done, there would still be multiple forms to be filled and submitted. Read the instructions carefully, especially the terms and conditions. Contact the officials before you actually enroll your child. Don't hesitate to clear any doubt. It is also suggested that you do research at your end properly, Google about the camp as much as possible and talk to all the reliable sources. You will get first-hand information from them.
If the camp’s cancellation policy is not mentioned in the form, talk to the officials. You need to understand the fee structure, the amount that comes under refundable category and the amount that will be non-refundable. Ask if any adjustments can be done id you decide to change plans. Be always sure about the cancellation terms.
There are some camps, which are especially devoted to the children of special needs, enquire about these camps if needed. In a circumstance where the disability is not so serious, you can enroll your child in a regular camp. These days the camps are all-inclusive in nature.
There are many advantages of taking part in an inclusive camp, other children, they learn about the disability that their fellow camper has, they become more considerate and sensitive and the camp in turn becomes a kind of a sensitization program. The children at such camps learn different ways to communicate, become more supportive and helpful. They develop compassion and in turn, the child with a disability feels accepted and becomes confident.
Your child might want to go with his/her friend, so you will have to arrange accordingly. Going to a summer camp will ensure that your child makes new friends with similar interests. This will develop your child’s social skills. Even the counselors at the camp are trained to teach them how to establish a relationship with fellow campers. The camp officials make sure that bed assignment or room allotment is inclusive and they also ensure that each and every child mingles with other. Thus, it is not always necessary to join a camp with a friend or relative but your child can very well make new friends on his/her own.
The guide for picking the great camp may help you with some of the things that you need to keep in your mind while choosing a summer camp for your child. Summer Camps are fun and adventurous. They make your child sensible and independent. So go ahead and choose the perfect summer camp for your child using this comprehensive guide.
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