Researching The Right Camp For Your Child

With over 11,000 camps in the United States, it is important to come up with a list of questions to guide you. By doing so, you can narrow the possibilities to a manageable few.Do the Research (January – May 2009)What do I want in a camp?
Single sex or co-ed?
Religious or non-denominational?
Sports-oriented, nature-oriented or a mixture of both?
In driving distance or am I willing to fly?
Do I want lakes or mountains (or will just a river do)?
How many weeks?
Is the camp competitive or nurturing?
Activities required or free choice?To do this research, it is helpful to:Talk to other children and parents.
Watch DVDs & talk to your children.
Search the Internet.
Attend a camp fair. The Annual Jewish Camps Fair will be held on Sunday, December 14th, from 10 am – 2 pm, at Solomon Schechter Day School. The broader St. Louis Summer Opportunities Fair will be at Whitfield School on Saturday, January 31st, from 10 am – 3 pm. At both, there will be overnight camps, day camps and teen travel opportunities.Talk to camp directors.Talk to a Camp Advisor.Making Camp Visits (Summer 2009)Based upon your research, try to narrow your camp options and choose a few programs to go and visit. All camps gladly receive guests, if you schedule an appointment. If you are considering camps in Missouri, you can plan a day or overnight trip to an area and then stop in to see the camp. If you are looking at camps in the Upper Midwest, you could plan a family vacation near to the camps you wish to visit. Most camps are located in beautiful areas near state parks or resort areas, so these visits can be fun for the whole family. You could even plan your family’s vacation at a camp and take advantage of a family weekend. These visits can help your child acclimate to the environment of the camp and make the decision to leave home a lot less scary. And, your first-hand observations of the facilities, the activities or the dining hall routine can help you know if this would be the right place for your child!Early Bird Discounts (Fall 2009)Once you have determined which camp suits your child, you can take advantage of early bird discounts. These discounts usually hold the cost of camp down to the previous year’s tuition or take a few hundred dollars off the price of residential camping. And, when your neighbors are stressing out about what their child will be doing in the coming summer, you will be sitting pretty with your child already enrolled!Summer 2010 – The Best Summer of Your Child’s LifeSince there are programs to fit the needs of any child, I encourage you to explore the range of options available to you. The camp experience is an opportunity that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Happy camping!