Close to 70% of parents of children who attend overnight camps say that these programs have helped their child to become more confident, make new friendships, and even discover new interests.
In short: there are countless social, mental, and even physical benefits of enrolling your child in summer programs for kids.
But if your child has specific needs, is nervous about attending an overnight camp, or even if you think they’re already perfectly suited for summer camps for kids?
You need to make sure that, as a parent, you’ve asked the right questions when it comes to a potential summer sleepaway camp.
So, what are the kinds of things that you need to know before you select a summer camp for your child?
Keep on reading this post to find out.
1. How Are Counselors Trained?
We know that one of the most important questions you’ll want to ask a potential overnight camp relates to the training of staff and counselors.
Have they received basic medical training, so that they can step in if there is an emergency? Have they earned any specific certifications, like CPR certification or lifeguard certification?
How many years of experience have they had, and how old are they? Were many of them campers themselves? What is the counselor policy and philosophy when it comes to enforcing rules, ending conflicts in cabins, or just ensuring that everyone is getting the most out of the program?
What is cabin life like, and how do counselors help to reinforce the values of the camp?
2. What Is the Average Return Rate?
If campers, staff, and counselors alike enjoy their experience at a particular summer camp, then they’re likely to come back.
This is why knowing the average return rate is so important — plus, it will also give you a good idea of the length of any waiting list you may need to get on.
If the return rate is especially low, such as well under 40%?
Then it’s likely better that you continue your search for the right summer camp for your child.
3. How Many Campers Are There per Counselor?
When you’re looking at summer camps for kids, you’ll also need to be sure that you have a good understanding of the average camper to counselor ratio.
While summer camp should instill a sense of independence in your child, you also want to be sure that, should they need individual attention or help, it will be available to them.
The right ratio will also depend on the ages of the children attending the camp. Of course, programs with younger campers will need more counselors. In general, if your child is under 8, look for one counselor per six campers.
From 9 to 14, look for an eight to one camper to counselor ratio.
If your child is a teen, then they’ll likely need a ten to one ratio.
4. What Is the Camp’s Mission or Philosophy?
You’ll also need to ensure that you’re familiar with the basic philosophy and mission statement of any camp that you’re considering.
First of all, this will help you to decide whether or not the program fits with the kinds of values you want to instill in your child.
Additionally, you’ll be able to understand about special features, like how they environment of the camp plays into activities, the kinds of rules your child will need to follow, and much more.
This will also give you a better understanding of the types of summer camp activities that your child will be able to partake in.
For example, if the camp is more traditional, they may learn survivalist skills, go on hikes, or even learn how to recognize stars and constellations. But if the camp is more of a niche program, you should expect activities related to that — like at a horseback riding camp.
5. How Diverse Is the Overnight Camp?
You also want to make sure that the summer camps for kids you’re thinking about sending your child to have a strong diversity policy.
Perhaps you know that your child will likely be in a racial, religious, or even financial minority at a potential summer camp. You want to be certain that there will be other children like them at the camp.
Additionally, you also want to be sure that the camp is looking to hire counselors, staff, and select campers with a wide variety of skills sets, interests, and other qualifications.
This way, you can be certain that not only will your child be subjected to little, if any, bullying — you can also rest easy knowing they’ll benefit from a diverse atmosphere.
Ready to Find the Right Overnight Camp for Your Child?
We hope that this post has helped you to understand a few of the most important questions that you should ask camp advisors and program directors before deciding on a summer overnight camp for your child.
Remember, it’s just as important to make your child a part of the process!
Ask them about the skills they’d like to learn, and what they hope to get out of summer programs for kids.
Need to get in touch with a camp advisor?
Want to read up on performing arts camps, leadership camps, or even family camps and teen programs?
If so, spend some time on our website to learn more about the different camp options available to you and your children.
We can’t wait to help to connect you with the perfect experience.