Figuring out how to find that summer camp that will besuitable for your child to attend and enjoy can appear daunting at first primarily because of the sheer number of camps to choose from and the range of their programs and offered activities. The key is to find the summer camp that will match your kid's schedule, skills set, age, personality, and interests. Part of responsible parenting is making sure that the camp is run in an appropriate and safe manner. Following are some things that parents can consider first as they begin the process of selecting a summer camp for their children.
Make sure that the camp has proper accreditation from the American Camp Association. - This will ensure that the overnight summer camp complies with the 300 or so best industry guidelines for camper safety, health, and conduct of important practices pertaining to the camp's programs.
Identify the focus of the camp's overall program. Each camp is unique in terms of program emphasis and philosophy. Some camps allow campers the freedom to pick individual activities that they find interesting while other camps may encourage structured group activities with guided or limited choices. Some camps promote competition among the participants and some are intentionally noncompetetive. Some summer camps offer traditional activities with an emphasis on recreation, while others focus on particular areas such as drama, sports, or crafts. Some camps may refine programs to focus on one pursuit exclusively.
Determine the camper to counselor ratio. This is to [make sure|ensure] that your child will get the right supervision and individual attention appropriate for his or her age. ACA recommends a maximum ratio of 8:1 for 6 to 8 year old kids. A 10:1 ratio is ideal for kids aged 9 to 14, while 12:1 ratio is ideal for 15 to 17 year olds. For overnight camps, the fewest possible campers for every counselor is [recommended|ideal]. Ratios may also vary depending on specific camp situations and activities.
Check out the key people on the camp's staff, starting with the director. According to ACA standards, the camp director should ideally be a bachelor's degree holder with extensive camp administration experience. Check for in-service training during the last 36 months. But keep in mind that there is no substitute for meeting a director in person and asking questions. A camp's policies, philosophy, and overall attitude towards campers begins with the dedication of the camp's director.
Find out from the director and staff about how the camp practices discipline and fair play. Find out if there are policies of encouragement, and find out how rules are enforced. The camp experience is a good way to reinforce a child's perception about the basic principles of a social environment other than home and school .
If your child has special needs, make sure that they can be accommodated. Talk to and correspond with the director and the camp nurse, If your prospective camper has a special medical condition such as an allergy or asthma, find out if the camp is capable of handling emergencies that may arise with such cases as well as how a camp approaches general health care issues.
Ask about the camp volunteers or staff and talk to one or two of them if possible. A kid's sleepaway camp experience will depend on a camp staff that, aside from helping facilitate activities act as role models. Staff members need to be trustworthy, reliable and prepared for the work they do. They must also have sufficient first aid and CPR training.
Check out the camp's references. It is important to find out everything you can about other parents' and campers' past experiences with a summer camp. The camp Director|should be very accommodating in providing references where you can check out their reputation and track record. There are also websites that offer evaluations written by parents and former campers and the directors' responses to issues. All forms of reference are by their nature incomplete and imperfect as comprehensive guides for choosing a camp, but they can be very helpful nonetheless.
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