Climbing a rock wall is just one of the activities kids enjoy at Beaver Summer Programs in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
by Lucy Jackson Norvell
Are you getting ready to interview summer camps for your child? Here is a list of questions you can ask camp and program directors to help you figure out which camp is best for your child. In addition, you’ll find questions you should ask yourself when choosing the best camp for your child’s interests.
• Is your camp accredited by the American Camp Association? What other regulations does your camp follow?
• What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with children?
• What sets your camp apart? Tell me about your philosophy and camp culture.
• What’s the best part of working at your camp?
• What brings people back summer after summer?
• Tell me about the staff. When not at camp, where do they work and/or study?
• How does your camp work inspire you or influence your life during non-camp months?
• What’s the most important thing for parents to know about your camp community?
• Tell me about your campers from last summer. Is there a story that comes to mind?
• Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges for things like registration, uniforms, meals, activities such as horseback riding or waterskiing, t-shirts, group photos and field trips?
• Is transportation available and if so, is there an additional cost? What are the specifics?
• How will the camp meet a child’s special dietary or physical needs?
• How does bad weather affect the daily schedule?
• Are there family visiting days?
• At a day camp, is before and after care available? If so, who cares for the children and what activities are offered? What is the additional cost?
• What else should I know?
Questions You Should Think About When Sending Your Child to Camp
• What is driving your camp search? Fun and learning? New experiences? Need for child care? Family tradition?
• What are your leading camp search criteria? Which ones are “non-negotiable” and which are “preferences”?
• Which of your family’s values should be reflected in the camp philosophy? How religious should it be? How competitive?
• What activities or programs interest you and your child? What level of intensity are you looking for? Are you looking for opportunities for your child to try new activities, to play, to advance current skills, to compete or to specialize?
• What kind of camp facilities will your camper consider?
• What session length is comfortable for your family’s summer schedule? The most common session lengths are: full season (seven to eight weeks), half season (three to four), two weeks and one week.
• What camp clientele do you want to consider? There are camps for boys only, girls only, coed, brother/sister, religious groups, underserved populations and children with special needs.
For more on how to make sure a camp is right for your child, click here.