But how can students ensure they find the perfect camp for them? We've got summer camp wisdom from the great folks at Edutude, a team with a passion for nurturing young minds and encouraging youth to find what motivates them to broaden their horizons.
Like finding the right school or college, on a smaller scale, finding the perfect summer camp fit for your student is incredibly important. Sending your student off to any old summer camp without first considering all their needs is one way to guarantee your student will be averse to summer camps for a long time.
The good news is that it’s simple to find the right fit for your student if you’re willing to do a little bit of research and know what to look for. Here are some tips to get you started on the right track.
Do your research
There are multiple ways to research summer camps, and you should take advantage of all of them. For many parents, an online search is the first step. There are over 8,000 summer camps in the U.S. alone, so you need the power of Google to help narrow down your options.
One way to make sure a summer camp is up to snuff is to look for its accreditation.
“You probably assume that all children’s summer camps must meet state standards. The surprising truth? States' oversight is spotty at best. Ask camps if they're accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), which conducts on-site visits and reviews programs, facilities, and hiring and safety policies. Only the most professionally run camps qualify. If a camp lacks the ACA nod, it may still be a high-quality program, but you'll need to ask more questions,” says Parenting.com.
Don’t just rely on the Internet, however. You wouldn’t send your kid to a college you haven’t visited - why should summer camp be any different? Take a tour of the camp and talk with the staff. Make 100% sure it’s the right fit for your student. Ask friends and neighbors about where they send their kids. Not all summer camps are created equal, and due diligence is necessary to make sure your student has the best experience possible.
Involve your student in the decision making
So you’ve found a great summer camp that everyone is raving about. That’s fantastic. But a great summer camp to one kid may not be all that exciting for another. Summer camps need to be tailored to each student, and you have to know your student’s interests and needs before making a decision.
Some of the main things to consider (and to ask your student about) are:
- Length of stay
- Day camp vs. overnight camp
- Speciality camp vs. general interest camp
- Proximity to home
Your student may not be ready for an overnight stay at a camp far away. Or they might not want to go to a camp that’s focused on only music or dance for two weeks. You have the final say, but you would be remiss not to consult your student first. After all, they’re the ones doing the camping.
One of the best ways to keep your student active and making good choices is zeroing in on activities they enjoy. Look for options that harness the talent they have, like painting, robotics, or sports camps. Oftentimes these camps give students a chance to try on a hobby or an activity they can apply to their career later in life. What’s even better is when your student has a chance to share with the world what they are doing and what it means to them. Encourage your student to blog or post on social media the cool stuff they are doing over the summer. It helps go a long way in cementing memories.
“Camp” doesn’t have to mean rustic
When you think of “summer camp” you usually think of outdoor activities in the woods and sleeping in tents or cabins. This is great for some kids, but in today’s modern world there are other summer camp options that aren’t so traditionally rustic. If your student has reservations about the outdoors, you can still give them a fun and adventure-filled summer camp experience by doing a little research.
“Are you looking to really get back to nature with rustic cabins and few of the luxuries of home, or do you want your camp to be up-to-the minute modern with extras like cell-phone privileges and Internet access? In other words, how ‘camp-like’ do you want your camp to be? Remember: not all camps are in the ‘deep woods.’ Some are close to towns, and others are on college campuses,” says PBS Kids.
So roll up your sleeves and dig into the world of summer camps, and see what you can find to help your student have their best summer yet.
About Edutude's Laura Pearson
Laura Pearson believes that every student has great potential and aims to help as many as possible unlock it. Ms. Pearson and Edutude strive to find unique, creative ways for parents and educators to encourage students to be challenged, motivated and excited by learning.
For more information, please visit Edutude's website: http://edutude.net/
By Jennifer Schwartz