Advertisement

Choosing the Right Day Camp for Your Child


Day camps come in all shapes and sizes, appealing to a range of interests and ages. Here’s how to find a camp that invests in your youngster by creating an unforgettable experience where they’ll meet new friends, gain self-confidence and learn new skills—while giving you peace of mind.

Begin with basics. First, determine your schedule needs. Some camps are only a few hours a day while others are structured to work well with a working parent’s schedule. Figure out if you’ll need to arrange before or after care.

From there, seek a camp with a caring staff, fun programs, and a dedication to the safety of the campers. Bekah Myers, Director of Extended Day & Summer Camp Programs at The Dunham School, says, “It’s important to look for a day camp that interests and engages your child in a unique way. For example, our day camp is themed differently each week, offering a field trip and activities pertaining to the assigned theme. This makes camp both educational, fun, and fresh for our campers.”

Match the camp with your child’s interests. From computer coding to robotics and sports, day camps offer kids the opportunity to try all kinds of new activities. Cristina Benigno, Director of SJA’s Sizzling Summer Program, suggests, “For younger children, look for camps that will keep them busy throughout the day by offering different activities and experiences. For older children, look for camps that specialize in interests your child has.”

If your child isn’t interested in a camp that specializes in one activity, choose a more traditional camp that offers a wide range of activities throughout the session. It’s important to have a healthy balance between structure and choice.

Consider the culture. Ask for referrals from trusted family and friends. As a parent, you should always feel welcome to visit the camp while your child is attending. Ask the camp director about the visitor’s policy and follow it accordingly. Also, consider the child-to-staff ratio. Will your child feel lost in a group that’s too big, even if it meets state criteria?

Seek qualified and organized staff. Camp employees should be licensed, certified and trained in sexual/child abuse prevention, first aid, and CPR. Find out how camp leaders are supervised and how they plan for emergencies, including natural disasters, intruders and other possible threats.

Myers shares, “Campers’ safety is our highest priority. With that in mind, our screening process is formidable. Counselor applicants go through an extensive background check and fingerprint and drug testing, and personal references are contacted to confirm our staff is a fantastic fit for our campers. Following the screening, our camp counselors attend training prior to the start of camp. They continue to participate in training throughout the summer and receive weekly feedback from our supervisors.”

Try it before you buy it. Attend a camp expo or camp fair to find out what options exist in the area. Some organizations feature their own camp fairs and mini-camps during the spring for families to try.

Calm butterflies. Many youngsters have a hard time adjusting to new situations and new people and may feel scared or intimidated. Include them in the process of choosing a camp. “Contact the camp director and ask if she can provide a schedule of what the day will look like for your child. It would be helpful for your child to know what the day holds in store and can also help her get excited about what the camp has to offer,” Benigno says.

Allowing your newest camper to assist in helping pack her backpack and lunch the night before will help her get ready and feel more confident. “Depending on the age of the camper, she may also want to bring a special plush toy or blanket. Parents can also talk with their child about some of the activities they will be doing, and how all the adults at camp are there to make sure they are having fun. It’s also helpful for children to have a friend attending camp. Knowing they’ll see a familiar face, and finding that friend at camp, quickly smooths any first-day jitters,” Myers adds. ■

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

01 Apr 2018


By Christa Melnyk Hines

Recent Articles more articles

Make Your List!

in Family Life, Jodi Carson

So, I made my own list: my list of things I want to change about my life. Getting more sleep was at the top.  There is something about writing it down, defining it clearly, that works. I am trying to live by this now.

Tips for Recognizing Dating Violence

in Sponsored Content

A 16-year-old girl is head over heels with her new boyfriend. He’s charming and handsome, her ideal guy. But he’s been acting jealous lately when she talks with other friends, and he has even lost his temper over seemingly small things.

Wellness for the Family

in Sponsored Content

Children watch and mimic their parents’ lifestyle choices as well as their behaviors, including what and when we eat, drink, how we structure our free time, and our sleep habits.

Spring Healthy Families Day Is Almost Here!

in Health and Wellness, Things To Do, Family Life, Sponsored Content

Spring Healthy Families Day will be overflowing with storybook readings, family yoga, kid-friendly cooking demonstrations, and opportunities to tour the new children’s pollinator garden and take a walk on the nature trail.

Featured Listings more listings

The Space Between Us

In this interplanetary adventure, a space shuttle embarks on the first mission to colonize Mars, only to discover after takeoff that one of the astronauts is pregnant.

Montessori School of Baton Rouge

in Private Schools

Give your child the world at the Montessori School of Baton Rouge. We support each child’s overall development with Montessori’s unique innovative approach to education.

Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School

in Private Schools

The mission of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School is to minister to the educational needs of our parish family by providing a teaching atmosphere which promotes gospel values and academic excellence for our students.

Advertisement
Newsletter