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How to Choose a Summer Camp


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Oct 13, 2006, 11:43 AM

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As a mother of two children who has done a great deal of research into choosing the best summer camps for my children, I want to offer advice to those of you who are just beginning the process of finding a summer camp for your children.

With so many camps to choose from, the task of finding the right one for your child can be downright daunting. Here are a few things to consider before you even begin your search.

First, what do you hope to get out of your child's camp experience? Some parents are just looking for an inexpensive way to occupy their kids for the summer while they work. That won't take much effort. But considering the amount of money you pay for summer camp, you ought to also take into account the value that you are getting for your dollar. You could spend a few hundred dollars per week on a day camp simply to keep your child out of trouble for the summer (or so you hope), or you could view summer camp as an investment in your child's development and future.

If you view your child's camp experience as an investment in their development, then you have to decide what it is you are trying to develop. Do you want them to develop academically, athletically or do you want them to expand their horizons with culture and the arts? Do you want to prepare them for college, or give them an opportunity to "try on" different careers? Do you just want them to explore new interest and broaden their current areas of interests? A few camps, like our family's favorite Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, offer a wide variety of these options.

Whether you want your child to develop skills necessary for entrepreneurial success, improve his golf golf score by 5 strokes, learn to cook up mouth watering dishes (and maybe take over that task at home!), feed her passion for fine arts and drama, or explore a wide variety of interests, you will find all that and more at Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs

The next thing you have to ask yourself (or more accurately, your child): what does your child want to get out of a summer camp experience? The last thing you want to do is spend good money on a camp only to get a phone call from a distressed child on the second day begging you to take her home. Each year I've sent my children to camp, the number one factor determining whether they want to return - well two actually: did they have fun and did they enjoy the people they were with. Now I know you want more than that out of camp, and so do I. But I know if my kids are happy and well adjusted while they are there, they are going to be much more receptive to all there is to learn and experience. At the camp where my kids go ( they have made friends from all over the world, many of whom they keep in contact with through email. It's a wonderful way for them to learn about differenct cultures.

Finally, think outside the box (or the tent, as the case may be).
Today's children and teens are much more sophistocated than they were even 10 years ago. Just the thought of abandoning their TV, computer games, cell phone and iPod is enough to make a child homesick. I'm not saying it's isn't good for children to get a break from these things from time to time. I'm a strong advocate of that. But I also know that the sleeping in the woods and getting bitten by mosquitos is not my children's idea of a good time. The first time my kids experienced camp on a beautifully landscaped suburban college campus with modern facilities, they knew they would never go back to traditional camping. It's just a better fit for most teens and pre-teens. If your child really struggles with homesickness, you may be able to minimize that to some extent by choosing a camp that has many of the same amenities that they have at home, rather than sending them deep into the woods in the middle of nowhere. Of course, for some children, this is still what they enjoy most about camp. But I know my children don't miss it a bit.

Well, there is much more to say about choosing a summer camp. By I suppose this post is long enough. I hope you find it helpful. Best wishes in your search.

(This post was edited by stephenwinbaum on Jul 16, 2007, 6:36 AM)


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