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How to Choose a Summer Camp for Your Kids in 8 Steps | Lifestyle

Going to a summer camp is a spectacular experience for a child and an opportunity to build self-esteem by making new friends, becoming a little more independent and trying out activities that may not be possible at home. Depending on the program, the camper may engage in sailing and horseback riding. Some people take a break from the screen.

If you are considering choosing a summer camp, there are many factors to consider. Most importantly, what your child will enjoy. What are their interests and passions? Do they want to delve into music and art at NASA’s Space Camp, or explore science? As the director of a Japanese camp in northern Minnesota, it was encouraging to me to see campers connect through a common interest in language and culture during the eight summers.

According to the American Camping Association, there are more than 12,000 camps in the United States, including day camps and overnight programs. The ACA website is an excellent resource and lists about 4,000 certified camps that provide a safe and nurtured environment.

With so many options, deciding on a camp can be a daunting task, so we’ve put together some tips to help guide you through the selection process. Some camps start registration as early as the previous fall and next summer, but most camps start in early spring. Popular camps fill up quickly, so be sure to stay above this if you have a particular camp in mind.

1. Set a budget

Day camps start at around $ 25 per day and overnight camps start at around $ 50. Prices can rise from there, depending on the facility, activity, staff and camper van ratio.

Prices continue to rise with inflation, according to ACA spokesman Lauren McMillin. According to an ACA survey that includes 2021 data and 2022 forecasts, the average daily cost is $ 178.49 per person for day camps and $ 448.53 per person for overnight camps. McMillin says more camps from affiliated non-profit sectors could respond and distort results.

Parents and guardians will want to include money in the cost of transportation to and from the cafeteria, any activity, and camp. Some camps offer scholarships, so don’t deter initial costs.

2. Choose your summer goals

Do your kids want to learn a language, improve their music skills, learn the basics of camping, or learn computer programming? Is it important for families to put them in religious camps? Other considerations may include staff and camper diversity, daily schedules, and whether activities are optional.

At the camp where I worked, I was able to try various activities in Japan such as calligraphy, kendo, and taiko. The staff mainly spoke Japanese and the kitchen served Japanese food for all meals. The children learned how to use chopsticks as soon as they visited Japan.

Some summer camps offer the opportunity to earn high school or college credits, especially in some classes not available at local schools.

3. Day camp and overnight debate

Talk to your child to see if they are ready for the camp overnight. Unless you’re planning a vacation and want to stay at a nearby hotel or rental property, a great stepping stone day camp is probably near your home. Parks, recreation boards, universities, museums and zoos may offer day camps during the summer.

4. Consider a virtual camp

For those who prefer home (for example, if you are worried about the coronavirus), there are virtual camps. 16-year-old Esmé Krom from Cambridge, Massachusetts attended an online session from the Norwegian branch of the Concordia Language Village.

“We learned about different Norwegian bands and musical vocabulary,” Krom said in an email. “Like Norwegian-themed crafts and referrals, all the usual summer camp activities worked very well online …. Except for singing, Zoom makes it pretty interesting to all of us. Was [lag].. “

5. Check dietary restrictions

If your child has a special dietary need, you will want to ask the camp if it can accept them.

Michelle Isban of Westchester, NY provided the following advice after sending her 9-year-old daughter with a food allergy to a summer camp.

“I asked all camps about allergy protocols. Some camps weren’t happy with her allergies,” Isban said. “Parents need to feel comfortable to be able to speak out and advocate to their children to ensure that their children’s needs are met and that they are happy and safe in their summer villas.”

Camp Walt Whitman, in Piermont, New Hampshire, had an independent allergy kitchen, food station, and staff allergy specialists who were active and professional in managing food allergies.

“We filled out the form and called every week,” said Isban. “They have a separate allergy snack box for each child, with snacks that meet allergic needs.”

At family camps, children can find out about their daily schedule with some familiar faces on their side with some of the counselors. If they return to regular sessions without parents next summer, they have the advantage of knowing some of the site layout, staff, and camping rituals.

The best way to find a camp is by word of mouth from your camper van or staff. A few summers ago, at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, I saw three boys, about 10 years old, chatting excitedly about their time at the camp. When I consulted with a counselor, I was told that I was from Camp Nevagamon, and I didn’t know if I could remember the name, let alone the pronunciation, so I took a picture of the staff’s T-shirt.

I sent the family camp information by e-mail and had a safe conversation with the director over the phone. Next summer we attended for a week. There was an airport counselor, so I felt like I already had friends. Both of us were very excited to try archery, wear tie-dye T-shirts, rock climb and enjoy the fellowship of family and staff.

7. Prepare for homesickness

When you decide to camp, be sure to talk to young children about homesickness. They should not be embarrassed to talk to their counselor about losing their home. Please send photos of your family and pets.

By the end of the session, most campers are not ready to leave. Some people cry when they start talking about returning home the following year, saying goodbye emotionally.

8. Watch them thrive

It was a pleasure to see the influence of the summer camp at Cat Lonsdorf, a former camper from my counselor days. She first arrived from Washington, DC at the age of six, lean and curious. She attended a Japanese camp in the summer of 10 and proceeded to a study abroad program in Okinawa. Currently, she is an NPR producer and has returned to Japan to report on Fukushima’s reconstruction efforts, nearly 10 years after the nuclear accident.

“Going to camp every summer was part of my favorite memory,” Ronsdorf said in an email. “Twenty years later, I still have friends at the camp. In addition, learning a language was great, and of course a geek.”

How to Choose a Summer Camp for Your Kids in 8 Steps | Lifestyle

Source link How to Choose a Summer Camp for Your Kids in 8 Steps | Lifestyle

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