Summer is in full swing and parents across the country are busy looking for summer camps for their kids. It takes a lot of research, scrolling through websites, and tons of phone calls to find the right fit.
If you have teenagers at home, you know how easily they get bored in the summer. The summer camp for teens you choose for them has to be exciting, fun, and memorable. They should enjoy every day, learn new skills, and have something meaningful to write home about.
On the other hand, you as a parent have concerns of your own. Is the camp (and the people who work there) safe? Will my teen like it? Is it too far away from home? Can I afford it?
Here are 5 important things to consider when choosing the best summer camp for teens.
1. The Summer Camp for Teens Program Quality
A summer camp is only as good as the quality of its program. When researching potential camps, compare the programs and see what they offer for the money. What is the main focus and selling point of the camp? How does a typical day look? Is it a specialized program or a general one?
Talk to your teen to see what they’re looking to get out of the program. If they’re interested in a skill-based program, a general camp may be boring for them. If they’re looking to have fun, meet new people, and develop their life skills, a general camp is a perfect fit.
2. The Location and Place
One of the first things to think about when choosing a summer camp is the location. Some camps are by the lake, some in the countryside, and others are close to big cities. Before you choose a camp that’s too far away from home, there are some things to consider.
For example, if your teen wants to attend a theater camp, is it a different state? Can you let your teen fly there alone? Will you be able to visit? How does your child (or you) handle separation? Do they have special needs that require frequent parental visits and supervision?
Also, if your kid doesn’t like the camp, will it be easy to go get them or arrange transportation to return them home? Talk to your teen about the options and see what they want to do.
Next, consider camp safety. Ask advisors about their security system, camp safety rules, and level of supervision. The physical and emotional safety of the kids must come first for the camp. What is the camp’s policy about dealing with bullying or fights?
Don’t trust advisors that say their camp has no history of bullying because that’s probably not true. It’s more important to know how they handle these situations to ensure nobody gets hurt.
3. The Instructors and Attendees
Each camp has its own requirements regarding instructors and their qualifications. In some camps, the instructors will be highly-qualified individuals with extensive experience in working with kids or teaching special subjects. In other camps, instructors may be seasonal workers with no relevant work experience.
Talk to camp advisors about the way they select instructors and do background checks. You want your child to be safe, but also to learn new skills by trained professionals. This is especially true for specialty arts camp where kids learn to play instruments, painting, or acting. The instructors should be qualified in the subjects they’re teaching as opposed to general camp instructors who cover all subjects.
Next, research the type of camp and its attendees. How many kids will be going? Are they the same sex or co-ed? What are the camp culture and mentality like? What is the camp’s approach to individuality, differences, and diversity? If possible, schedule a visit to see how everyone treats you and each other. You’ll get a great feel about the type of behavior in the camp and whether it’s a good fit for your teen.
Safety also expands to your teen’s special needs (if any), whether it’s a disability, needing special equipment, or special assistance during camp. How will the camp meet these needs and ensure the child is safe at all times?
4. The Camp Cost
Prices for summer camps are based on program activities, location, length of stay, and type of camp. Camps that include programs like therapy, arts, theater, sports, or specialized skills cost more than regular outdoor adventure camps. Also, overnight camp costs more than a day camp because it provides bedding, meals, and constant supervision.
You can always talk to camp advisors about financial aid and payment options. Many camps offer some kind of scholarship, reduced rates for returning attendees, or discounts for first-time goers. Affordable camps aren’t necessarily lower-quality than costly ones, so get recommendations from several sources before you decide.
5. The Program Results
Promises of great results are one thing, but actually living up to them is another. Some camps make promises as a marketing tactic to attract more kids, so before you believe them, do extensive research.
When choosing an adventure camp for your teen, talk to camp advisors about the results you can expect. Then, get in touch with people whose kids have already been there and ask about their experience.
Did the kids return next year? Were they happy with the activities and instructors at the camp? Did they learn new skills? Did they have an experience they’ll never forget? The best way to know if your teen will like the camp is to see if other teens liked it.
Look for These Qualities When Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Teens
Now that school is over, summer is the perfect time to help your teen make the best of their free time. Summer camps are a great way to learn new things, improve social skills, and boost self-confidence.
Your teen will make new friends, learn to become independent, handle conflict the right way, and learn the power of teamwork.
These tips for choosing a summer camp for teens will help you find the right fit and give your kid the experience of a lifetime.
Ready to decide on the best summer camp for your teen? Contact us today to talk to a camp advisor!