Right kid, right camp

Is your child ready?

Children are ready for new experiences at different stages. Parents know their children best and these questions can help gauge if this is the summer your child should start camp:

•What’s your child’s age, and what’s your perception of his or her readiness level? Children younger than 7 who haven’t had other overnight experiences may do better with a day camp as their first camp experience.
•Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home? Visiting relatives or friends? Were these separations easy or difficult?
•How did your child become interested in camp? Does your child talk about camp on a regular basis? How much persuasion is necessary from you?
•What does your child expect to do at camp? Learning about the camp experience ahead of time allows you to create positive expectations.
•Are you able to share consistent and positive messages about camp? Your confidence in a positive experience can be contagious.

Proximity

Camp can last for just a few days or stretch all summer long. Where do you want your child to go to camp? Locally or far away?

While every camp has something special to offer your child, this is an opportunity for families to assess what they value.

Benefits of nearby camps include:
•Minimal travel costs
•Easier to evaluate and visit
•Likely contact with classmates or children from the same region
•Friends and family are more likely to be familiar with the camp.

Benefits of far-away camps include:
•More choices
•Different experiences, geography, maybe even different languages
•Promotes independence, particularly for early and late-adolescent campers
•Offers a chance for family to visit and/or vacation nearby at the end of camp.

How long should they go?

Camps offer widely varying options to help parents and children reach their goals of summer fun and exploration.

Benefits of short sessions (one to three weeks):
•First-time or younger campers have a chance to learn new skills
•Bonds develop with other campers and staff
•Offers exposure to camp experience with less expense
•Minimizes homesickness.

Benefits of longer sessions (four or more weeks):
•Strong sense of belonging to a camp community
•Development of specialized skills
•Multiple opportunities for learning and enrichment
•Can contribute to camp culture
•Lifelong friendships.

Should they go co-ed?

It’s important to explore the choices and benefits of all-boys, all-girls and co-ed camps.

Benefits of single-sex camps:
•Breaking gender stereotypes: Girls interact with women in positions of authority and boys interact with men who act as nurturers.
•More opportunities to “be yourself” without impressing or competing with the opposite sex.

Benefits of co-ed camps:
•Prepares campers for everyday living in a co-ed world
•Allows families with a boy and a girl to attend the same camp
•Offers diverse points of view.

Specialty Camps

Choices abound when it comes to camp programs.

One may highlight a wide variety of activities geared to campers of all ages and skill levels, while others, because of their setting and expertise, may concentrate on one or two activities while providing traditional activities as well.

Parents of children with special needs are often pleased to learn about the range of camp activities available to help kids just be kids.


Benefits of traditional camps:
•Wide variety of activities
•Chance for campers to try many new things
•Exposure to more campers and staff in various activities.

Benefits of specialty camps:
•One or two specialized activities (often combined with traditional offerings)
•Expectation for increased proficiency during each camp session
•Deepens knowledge and skill in a particular area of interest or ability.

Benefits of special-needs camps:
•Activities geared to campers’ abilities
•Knowledgeable staff have more expertise to understand campers’ strengths and challenges
•Supportive and fun atmosphere to share with others.