With thousands of camps to choose from, the task of finding the camp that is the best fit for your daughter can be incredibly overwhelming. Here are some suggestions that we have for you as you are trying to decide where to send your daughter to camp.
1. Decide what type of camp fits best
There are many different types of camps (e.g., single sex, co-ed, residential, day, all-around, specialty) that have distinct missions. So first decide what type of camp would be best for your daughter. For example, if she doesn’t want to sleep away from home, a day camp would be the best place to start.
2. Location, location, location
Camps are located in many different geographic regions. You can narrow your search by determining if there are specific locations where you would like your daughter to attend camp. For example, if you want your child to experience a gorgeous location with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, be sure that you are familiar with the environment surrounding a camp.
3. How do I begin the search for a summer camp?
One of the best resources you have available to you is parents who have already chosen camps for their children. Talk to your trusted friends and others whose parenting decisions you respect. In addition, most camps have websites with helpful information about the summer camp experience they offer their campers. You may find it helpful to use internet search engines such as Google as you begin the process of finding a camp for your child. Just remember that the more specific you can be in your internet search (e.g., girls camps New York) increases the likelihood that you will find camps that fit your needs.
4. Key questions to ask camp directors
Once you have identified camps that may be a good fit for your child, it is important that you get to know the people who are running the camp. When you enroll your child in summer camp, you are trusting camp directors to safeguard her physical, emotional, and social well-being. Camp directors should take this responsibility very seriously and you should be comfortable with the camp philosophy that guides their actions. It is essential that you are comfortable with the directors’ maturity and judgement. Here are some questions that we suggest you ask:
- What is your camp’s parenting philosophy?
- How long have the current directors been working at your camp?
- What is the camper to staff ratio?
- Do you have medical staff at camp?
- Do your campers return year after year?
- What type of activities do have at your camp?
- What is a typical day at camp?
- How do you recruit your staff?
- How old are the counselors at your camp? Do you hire counselors-in-training (CITs) or junior counselors?
5. Ask for references
Feel free to ask camp directors for the names of parents who have children at their camp. These current parents will be invaluable resources for you as you decide if a camp is a good fit for your daughter.
6. Visit Camp
Seeing camp in action is the best way to experience the feeling of camp life! If it is possible, try to arrange a tour during the summer so you can meet campers and staff. If you are unable to visit during the summer, ask if it is possible to tour camp when camp is not in session.