how to narrow down summer camp choices

You want your child to have fun this summer, and of course you need to have peace of mind that they’re safe, and in good hands. There are so many camps and programs to choose from — it’s not easy to narrow down the choices. Here is a checklist you can use to make the process a little easier.

Ask: If your child is old enough, we suggest you have a conversation with them about what kind of camp they would like to attend this summer. When a child feels like (s)he is part of the decision, camp is even more fun!

Location: Next, filter by location. Is this camp in close proximity to your home/work? Keep your life easy! If you’re driving clear across town to drop off and pick up your child, and you’re far away from them while they’re at camp, you will be stressed out during the day.

Size/Social: Is your child better suited for a big camp or a small one? Is your child a social butterfly? Will (s)he make new friends on the first day? If not, find out where his/her close friends are going to camp to see if you can coordinate.

Mission/Style: What type of camp will your child enjoy? If your child loves sports, will (s)he play sports all day at this camp? Regardless of the type of child you have, will they get their fill? Also ask, is there an educational component to this camp?

Schedule: Ask questions like: What is the daily schedule? Does it change with each day? Does every child in the camp have the same schedule? Is there any flexibility? Will there be breaks during the day? Is lunch provided or do we need to pack a lunch?

Operators: Who operates this camp? Is it operated by a reputable company, school, etc.? Make sure you know who’s behind it before enrolling your child, and check the online reviews. (If you are enrolling your child in any of the camps here in the 305 Hive newsletter, you should have some peace of mind! We only work with reputable businesses.)

Staff: What about the staff and counselors? Have you spoken with other parents? Do they sound like people your child would enjoy being with all day? What are their qualifications? What is the counselor/camper ratio?

Communications: What is their communications plan? In the event of an unlikely emergency, how well prepared is this camp? How will you be contacted?

Cost: Are the fees in line with what you expect to pay? Or maybe a better question is, are they charging the ‘going rates’? Comparing weekly rates is always a good idea. (Factor in what is included: equipment, lunch, counselor ratio, etc.)

Before/After Care: If you need to drop your child off early or pick up late, can they accommodate you? Will your child be with other kids?

Unique Requirements: If your child has unique requirements, like allergies, an illness or special needs, make sure the camp knows what they’re doing and that they have hired staff who are qualified to respond to your child in the event of an emergency.

Covid-19: What health and safety practices and/or policies does the camp have in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as much as possible? Are they practicing social distancing? Is there anything not taking place this summer, that typically has been done in the past? What procedures are in place if a child or staff member tests positive for Covid-19?

Asking questions ahead of time and managing expectations leads to happy camping! Most importantly, we hope your kids have a great time at camp this summer.