The benefits of summer camp go way beyond the activities we normally associate with camping – swimming, campfires, and sleeping in tents. Today, there are so many different options for summer camp, there is something to suit every different type of child – thank goodness!
Day-Camp or Sleep-Away?
Addressing the growing independence that your child is looking for, you may choose day-camps that last one week at a time, or sleep-away camps that range from one week to one month away from home. Sleep-away camps tend to be mostly outdoor-focused, but there are some that are more educationally-based.
And this brings us to the topic of themed camps – do you choose an outdoor-focused, sports, arts, religious or education-focused camp? Once again, this depends largely on your child’s interests. There are merits to each one, of course, especially if they are aligned with your priorities and goals for your child. Education-based camps are growing in popularity as parents are looking for ways to stimulate and engage their children in a love of learning, by finding subjects and interests that their kids want to learn about, but that are not readily available within the school curriculum.
Camps should always be fun, but they also provide an opportunity for different kinds of learning – they are a place where kids develop character-building skills and grow their self-confidence, leadership and team-building skills. Camps can offer the chance to learn more about the things that really interest your kids, and they can be the place where life-long friendships begin.
Consider these factors when deciding …
When deciding which summer camp is the right choice for your child, there are several factors to consider:
- type of camp
- size of the group
- age range of campers
- whether it is a specialty camp
- whether it accommodates special needs (if that is a consideration for you).
Dollars and Cents
Notice that price is not the first thing on this list. In fact, when looking at camps that ideally suit your child, try to look at the price last. It is true that you get what you pay for, and when you find a camp that meets most (or all) of the other criteria you are looking to check off your list, you will likely find that the price decreases in importance as the value of the camp increases – and that is a judgement that is specific to each and every family.
Additionally, many camps offer different discounts to help give parents a price break – and if you don’t see discounts listed, don’t be shy – just ask! Early bird discounts are pretty common, and if you register for more than one week, or refer a friend, many camps are happy to reward that kind of “loyal client” behavior with a discount.
What’s “Best” for YOUR Child?
Remember that choosing the right summer camp is an individual family choice and that the “best” camp for your friends’ or co-workers’ kids may not be the best camp choice for your children. Even within the same family, it is often the case that different children will go to different camps, or choose different themed weeks within the same camp, according to their different interests.
If your child has a health condition or has other special needs, there are camps available that will allow him/her to enjoy the experience of summer camp just like everyone else – you just may have to do a bit of extra searching. Specialty camps, and camps that accommodate for different health or learning conditions, give children with special needs the opportunity to enjoy the summer camp experience in a “safe”, supportive, and inclusive environment. This gives children with special needs the opportunity to develop lasting friendships, have fun and meet other children who share their interests.
Most importantly, it gives them the experience of belonging … and that, at the end of the day, is the best summer camp experience of all.
P.S.: Don’t forget to ask about our early bird specials and accommodations for kids with special needs.