With summer quickly approaching, the summer camp season is just underway. When picking a summer camp or program for your child consider what makes for a good match. Just like every child, every camp has its own personality. The child’s interest, medical needs, allergies, dietary restrictions, family monetary concerns, co-ed or single sex, length of stay and distance from home are all some of the factors to be considered in determining the proper placement. In addition to traditional camps, there are camps that specialize in individual sports, theater/art/music, education, science, computers, weight loss, outdoor adventure, language, community service and many more.
The directors and the staff determine the personality of the camp. Talk to the staff about the program flexibility and whether there is a structured schedule or choice of activity. Full choice summer programs will allow campers to select all of their activities. A structured summer camp will allow some elective activities, however campers generally follow a pre-determined schedule.
Consider the length of stay and the distance from home. Summer overnight camps offer anywhere from 1 to 7 week sessions. And obviously, different geographic regions provide different summer camp experiences. Consider the environment you want for your child along with your level of comfort. Keep in mind that the distance from home has no direct correlation to homesickness!
Traditional sleep away summer camps range in price from $450 to over $1000 per week. Be certain to inquire about any additional costs such as laundry, canteen, trips or transportation, which may or may not be included in camp tuition.
Colorado is a beautiful location for a summer camp experience. The Denver Post provides a Colorado Summer Camp Guide list with over 200 overnight camps in Colorado. Colorado Parent also provides helpful information on local summer camps.
But before selecting a camp, consider asking the director the following questions:
- How long have you owned the camp? If appropriate, ask about prior experience in owning a camp.
- How do you handle homesickness? What is your phone call policy?
- Is there a medical care provider on site at all times? How close is the nearest hospital?
- Where is home for most of the campers?
- What are the age and experience requirements for the counselors?
- How much personal choice is there is each camper’s schedule?
- What is the level of competition? Can every child play on a team?
- Are showers and bathrooms available in the bunks?
- Are there religious services and, if yes, are they mandatory?
- What additional charges are there?