How to choose a summer camp Sit down with your parents and write a list of things that you want from the camp, be it fun stuff, learning skills, your hobbies etc. Your parents should also write a list of what they want you to get from the camp. This might be different to yours but you will probably find that the things you want and the things your parents want can be found at more than one camp. For example you might want to learn to skateboard and your parents want you to gain more self confidence. By selecting the right camp there is no reason why both these things cannot be achieved at the same time. Once you have decided what you and your parents want from the camp you will need to decide which type of camp you want to attend. Location: Although you might be restricted by the location, some camps do offer transportation, so look into this if distance could be a problem for you. Facilities: Your parents might be more concerned about facilities than you, but you need to know what things you expect at the camp. What is the security like, what medical facilities are there, what are the qualifications of the camp supervisors, what type of sleeping arrangements are there, can the camp cater to special needs if required. What type of accommodation is provided i.e. cabins, tents etc? Some camps are operated by religious bodies, so if this is important to you make sure you are able to practice your religion whilst at camp. Size: Camps vary in size from tens of people to over 500. Do you want to be part of a large camp or prefer a smaller camp environment? Even the largest camps tend to split children into smaller groups so you still get the individual support you would receive at a smaller camp. Cost: Of course cost can be a major issue especially if you want to attend several camps or you have brothers and sisters who also need to attend camp. This can mean that your parents are
Costs vary greatly from camp to camp from around $200 for a day camp to several thousand dollars for a month long camp. Fortunately there are lots to choose from so hopefully you will find one in your parents budget. Duration: Camps can last anything from a few hours to several weeks. You and your parents need to be sure that you are prepared to be away from home for the length of your trip. Some children love being away from home and enjoy the freedom, but others may get very homesick and want to go back home after a day or two. Check to see if there is an option available to cut the duration sort if you find you want to go home early. Is there a refund policy in this case? Activities: This is the most important decision as far as the children are concerned because it is what you will be doing whilst away at camp. Some camps specialize in certain areas such as horse riding, mountain climbing, sports, crafts etc, whilst others offer a wide variety of activities. Do you want to take part in team sports or more singular activities such as tennis? Do you want the whole camp to revolve around water sports or would you prefer something more sedate such as craft activities or performing arts? Do you need to learn a particular skill from scratch or are you more advanced? Check the skill levels of each camp to make sure it meets your skill needs. One for the parents - check it out first: Once you choose a camp make sure it is everything you expect it to be. • • • •
spending a lot of money so you need to be aware of this and not be too selfish in your needs, after all there will still be next year to try something different.
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You also need to be aware of what is included in the cost such as equipment, trips, transport as these items can add considerably to the overall cost if not included.
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Can you get references from people who have used it before? How long has it been in operation? What are the goals of the camp? How many staff are on duty to how many children? What are the qualifications of the staff? What staff training is provided? What is the food like? What are the sleeping arrangements? What toilet and shower facilities are available? What facilities are available for contact with home (phone, letter etc)? What provisions are there for bad weather? What insurance coverage is there? What items can your child take with them?