AlpharettaMoms.Org looks at important things to consider when deciding if your child is ready for sleep-away camp. There are severeal ways to find which camp is the best fit for your child.
A website with good advice is CampAdvice.com where you can ask “the camp lady” questions and she will respond with possible camps that would be a good fit for your child. The Camp Lady even contacts the camps for you and has them send brochures, videos and other materials to you. Read carefully through the brochures and look at the videos if you receive any. The videos will give you feel for the surroundings, cabins, and activities.
Call the Camp Directors and if possible make appointments to meet them personally. Meeting the directors one-on-one is a terrific way to get a feel of a camp and have a lot of initial questions answered. If you live far from the camp, ask if the directors or other staff travel to meet with prospective campers. Local Camp Expo’s are a good way to meet the Camp Director’s personally and ask questisons.
Ask for recommendations from other parents on the camp and find out their likes and dislikes.
Many camps have an “Open House” weekend where you can go with your child to check out the facilities and ask questions. This is a great way to prepare your child for the environment they will be in while they are away at camp.
Questions to help find the right sleep-away camp:
1) How many kids to a cabin and how many counselors to a cabin?
2) What and where are the bathroom facilities?
3) What kind of security is there at night?
4) What kind of background and training do the counselors have?
5) What kind of safeguards are there to prevent or deal with any bullying?
6) What percentage of kids are repeat campers each summer?
7) What percentage of counselors and staff returns each year? 40-60% is good.
8) What kinds of meals and snacks are there? Does a certified nutritionist pick the menus? Ask to see some menus.
9) Is the camp religious based and what type of religious activities are there?
10) What are the lists of activities and is my child interested in these?
11) What activities are the kids required to participate in and which ones are “electives?”
12) Are the kids allowed to call or write or email their parents? What are their family contact policies?
13) Are the parents allowed to call or email the children?
14) Are there social workers on staff to help kids who may be having a difficult time adapting to camp life? If not, how does the camp handle children who are suffering from homesickness?
15) Does the camp have the proper facilities, staff, and appropriate activities for children with disabilities?
16) What is the process for handing out medications (eg. ADHD meds)?
17) Is there any financial assistance available to families who can’t afford the whole camp fee?
18) Are there discounts for multiple children?
19) Is the Camp co-ed?
20) Is the camp accredited by the ACA (American Campers Association)?
21) Is there a health facility nearby?
22) What is the camper to counselor ratio?
23) Are camp fees all-inclusive or are there additional charges for laundry, special lessons, etc. ?
24) Does the camp have accident insurance?
Original article 4/17/12