Picking a Resident Camp

The best advice for selected a resident camp -- a camp where you child will stay for a week, two weeks, or even longer -- is start early. Popular camps may be filled long before the first robin chirps each spring. Choose a camp that suits the child’s abilities and meets his or her interest rather than one that requires participation in an activity for which he or she has no talent or interest. Your family’s personal values and your child’s personality are also important factors to consider when selecting a camp. Some camps run on a tight schedule with every hour filled with activities. If you child needs time alone to read, write letters home, explore or just recharge, make sure the program allows free time. 

Following are some questions you may want to ask before you sign your child up for a resident camp:     

  • Is the camp accredited or licensed by a state or national organization?      
  • What is the mission or philosophy of the camp?      
  • What qualifications does the camp director have?      
  • Do they have adequate liability insurance?      
  • Does the camp handle special health needs? (awareness of fragile medical conditions, allergies, asthma, medication, need for extra fiber or fluids).      
  • Does the camp provide references?      
  • Is there an open house where parents can meet counselors before camp begins?      
  • What is the cost and length of the camp?      
  • Does the cost cover all activities or are there extra charges for some events?      
  • Can parents come for a weekend visit?      
  • What is the counselor/child ratio and ages of counselors? Should be no more than ten children to one adult counselor.      
  • What training is required and what is the screening process for hiring counselors?      
  • How many counselors have previous camp experience?      
  • Are all staff members trained in working with children?      
  • Are all staff members trained in CPR and First Aid?      
  • What procedures are in place to handle severe injuries or illnesses? If an emergency arises, are parents called immediately? Is emergency transportation readily available?      
  • What precautions and procedures are used to ensure safety of campers during severe weather? Are there safe rooms or designated areas of protection?      
  • How are behavioral problems and discipline handled?      
  • How is homesickness handled? May campers call home often?      
  • Are swimming skills tested before taking part in water activities?      
  • Are qualified lifeguards available during all water activities?      
  • Are there a variety of activities from which the child can choose?      
  • Are children under seven years of age given rest periods?

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