If you are starting the search for a summer camp for your child, you will soon find out that the options are overwhelming. Not only are there all types of activity options, but also length of stay, price, and other restrictions. Here is a quick overview of the different types of summer camp and how to choose the right one for your child.
If this is your child's first summer camp, you need to start by making a decision about how much he or she can handle when it comes to separation. Resident camps, also called overnight camps, require the child to spend nights away from home, and many have a minimum of 5-7 days that you must sign for. Resident camps are a great option for independent or older kids who want the full experience of summer camp.
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Day camps are an easier choice for parents and children, as everybody returns home every evening. Specialty summer camps can be either resident or day camps, but they are often focused on one single activity, such as horseriding, soccer, or water sports. Specialty camps are a great choice for kids who enjoy a particular activity and are hesitant about getting involved in other things.
Before choosing a summer camp, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much can I afford? Day camps might cost about $40 US Dollars per day, while resident summer camps average at least double that amount. Specialty summer camps tend to be expensive, as the people working there are supposed to be professionals.
- What is the best type of summer camp for your child's personality? Would he be comfortable with sharing a week with strangers or would he prefer a quieter alternative where he can get time to himself? Do you want your child to have freedom with her schedule or do you prefer a program with more structure?
- Does your child have specific medical or dietary needs? Would the camp be able to accommodate those requirements?
When selecting a summer camp, make sure you confirm safety standards. At a minimum, a summer camp should be accredited by the American Camp Association, and have counselors who are at least 18 years old, although they can be 16 years old if there are also older counselors around. Resident summer camps should have a registered nurse on the premises, and counselors should be certified in first aid.