This morning on WUSA 9 News Now I talked with Peggy Fox about getting most out of an attending a CAMP FAIR.
It may seem too early to start thinking about summer since there is still snow on the ground in some places. However the perfect time to think about summer enrichment opportunities for you child is right now. And, the upcoming weekend is the beginning of Camp Fair Season with 2 big camp fairs in our area.
FAMILY Magazine is a sponsor of these Camp Fairs and the magazine is a great resource for camps. If there is one thing our magazine has, it is great resources for summer activities of ALL KINDS. We also have lots of articles from “Why you should send your child to summer camp” and all the way to “How to choose a camp.” If you are at all considering sending your child to a camp this year, you HAVE TO check out our web site.
BE SURE TO COME TO ONE OF THE CAMP FAIRS THIS WEEKEND. You can find a complete list of the fairs in the DC area on our web site, www.washingtonFAMILY.com
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of attending a camp fair:
Parents should think about these questions before the CAMP FAIR—
• Day Camp vs. Overnight Camp -- How long is my child comfortable being away from home or does my child just want a day camp?
If your child has never spent a night away from you, a 3-week camp might be a bit much for them to adjust to. You might want to start them in a day camp that has a one or two night overnight experience.
• How far away does my child want to go for camp?
Do you want your to have to drive 12 hours to get to the camp or put your child on an airplane to go to camp? Think about this ahead of time so you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation this summer.
• What age group is my child comfortable with?
If your child is in the youngest age group of a camp, are you and your child comfortable with this?
• What type of program interests my child (academic, sports, adventure, arts)?
Sports interest camps are great ways to engage your child. Most of the programs also offer the traditional swimming and camping experience as well.
• Does my child want a co-ed or same sex camp experience?
This is probably more important to the parents than the child and it is important to think about.
• How much do I have in my budget for a camp?
There will also be other experiences related to camp. Some camps require special equipment and even special clothing. Keep all of this in mind when you are selecting a camp.
Questions to ask the camp representative (or director) at the CAMP FAIR:
When you go to a camp fair you can expect representatives of several camps there to talk with you about their camp. Often this might even be the camp director. They will be there to talk you as long as you want so that you can feel really comfortable with their camp.
• What is the camp’s mission and philosophy?
This will tell you what they feel is important and where their emphasis will be.
• What is the staff to camper ratio?
You want as many staff as possible to make sure your child is properly supervised.
• What is the background of the director and key staff?
You should make sure the director and all the key staff has appropriate credentials. Being a member of the American Camping Association is important for overnight camps.
•How is the staff trained, what are their credentials, and how many are former campers?
If you are sending your child to a specialty camp, you want to make sure they are qualified and have the experience to teach your child. You also want to make sure they have experience with children. Staff members that were also campers are the best recommendations.
• How many campers return for multiple summers?
Camps that have a lot of returning campers from previous years are great. This shows that the parents and the kids were happy with their experience.
• Can you provide the names of former campers who are willing to talk with us that live in our area?
Recommendations from parents in your own area are the very best. You can ask them lots of questions about the camp and find out what their child liked or did not like.
• What kind of medical treatment/facility does your program have access to?
Of course you want good medical care if your child becomes ill or has an accident.
For more information about camps and camp tips, visit the FAMILY Magazine web site. We have many articles and a great deal of information about camps.
Do you have a favorite camp or camp memory? I would love to hear about it.