Ask any student here in Westford, and they’ll tell you the countdown has begun: there is just 1/2 day left before spring vacation, and then a mere seven weeks until summer vacation.
Along with the school days dwindling, so is the time to decide on summer plans. If you are thinking about having your child attend summer camp, here are some ideas to keep in mind:
1. Type of camp. Are you interested in a day or residential camp? Coed or single-sex? Are you looking for a traditional summer camp, or one that specializes in sports, academics, creative arts, or addresses special needs? Be sure to keep your child’s interests, maturity level, and personal goals in mind when looking at camps. Additionally, the camp you choose should meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of your child.
2. Cost, size, and location. Be sure to look at camps that are within your budget, or see if any offer camperships. Speciality camps typically cost more than traditional summer camps, and may included extra fees (e.g., private lessons, uniforms, equipment). Camp size may run from under 100 to more than 500. Smaller camps may offer more individualized attention and stronger relationship building opportunities. However, larger camps are often broken down into smaller groups, thus functioning similar to a smaller camp. As far as location goes, for day camps, obviously, the closer the better. Check into car pools for those that are not in the immediate area. When choosing a location for a sleepaway camp, keep in mind your ability to visit (and the cost for the visit), proximity to camps that your other children may be attending, and your comfort level at the amount of distance of the camp location.
3. Safety, facilities, and accreditation. Be sure to ask about staff training (both the directors and the counselors) and experience, staff ratios, medical staffing and procedures, insurance and emergency procedures, and safety rules. If possible, tour the facilities, paying special attention to restrooms, eating areas, water sports areas, sleeping areas, and rainy day facilities. Additionally, if your child requires special accommodations or has medical issues, be sure your child’s needs can be met. Finally, ask about accreditation and licensures. Although it doesn’t guarantee quality, accreditation can be a good sign.
Since you’re ready to begin your search, a great place to start is the American Camp Association. The association offers guides to finding camps, and list a variety of camps based on your search criteria.
Enjoy your summer as a !