Planning your summer? For some help on finding the best camp for your kid, here are five tips from the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey:
1. Camp director: Parents want to make sure they click with the camp director and feel comfortable with him or her. Make sure the director answers all your questions and is happy to do so. Get to know the director through phone calls and emails. Camp directors will also visit you at your home or you can arrange for a camp tour. You must feel comfortable entrusting your child’s care to this person.
2. Philosophy: Each camp is different and has its own mission and philosophy. Make sure the director can easily explain the camp’s philosophy and the camp you are choosing reinforces your own family’s values.
3. Program emphasis: Consider if you are looking for a traditional, well-rounded summer camp or a specialty program. Ask the director about what type of child is successful in the program. Also think about what your “must haves” are for your child and make sure the camp offers those activities
4. Safety: Ask about who is caring for your child and the safety measures that are in place. Ask about the age of the staff, their experience, pre-season and on-going staff trainings. Inquire about medical personnel on property, emergency plans, staff screening procedures, and instructor qualifications. Make sure the camp has been inspected by the Department of Health and ask if the camp is ACA (American Camp Association) Accredited.
5. References: Ask friends and neighbors about the camps they send their children to, but make sure you do your own research. Each child is different and the right camp for one child may not be right fit for another. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask camps for references. This is generally one of the best ways to check a camp’s reputation and service record.