Choosing a summer camp for your daughter is no small task. In fact, summer camp can be a life-changing experience. No pressure, right? The good news is, making the decision is not as hard as it sounds. Here are 5 simple steps to follow when making that important family decision.
#1 Identify what you want and start your search: Nowadays there are overnight summer camps for just about everything under the sun. Tennis? Robotics? Gymnastics? Spanish? Are you looking for a camp that focuses on just one specific activity, or does your daughter want to do it all? Looking for an all-girls camp or co-ed? The key is making a few decisions before you being your search. The American Camp Association is a great place to start, acacamps.org. They offer a huge database of every kind of camp with easy to follow steps to narrow your search. You may also want to check out camppage.com, summercamps.com, and local camp fairs.
#2 Narrow it down to your top 3: This may be tough but it’s time to start crossing a few camps off of your list. Things that may help you narrow your field include location, cost, activities offered, and session dates.
#3 Do Your Homework: It’s time to do some research. Check out the camp’s website, social media sites, Facebook reviews, Google reviews, etc. This will help you narrow your search even further. Oh, and this is a good time to pull your daughter into the decision-making process. If all 3 options are acceptable to you, she will feel empowered to weigh-in on the final decision.
#4 Schedule a Call: At this point, you should know your prospective camps pretty well. You should be able to easily identify their camp mission and program structure. It’s time to take it a step further and set up a meeting, phone call, or Skype call with the camp director. They should be available, and more than happy to spend time with you. If they aren’t, you may want to strike them from your list. Be sure to think of a list of questions to ask. Ask about their camp experience. Ask how they would handle certain situations. What about the ratio of campers to counselors? Be specific about your daughter and any special needs she may have. You are looking to come away from this conversation feeling confident in the director’s ability to lead her camp staff in caring for your daughter. If you’re not feelin’ it, cross that camp off of your list.
#5 Register Now: You have narrowed it down to your #1 choice! Congratulations! It’s time to take action, now. There is nothing more disappointing than those dreaded words, “We’re full.” Most great camps fill up fast. So, act fast! Nobody wants to settle for their 2nd choice.
Best of luck to you! We recognize this decision is a big one. Follow the steps above and you will be well on your way to finding the perfect camp for you and your daughter. You can do it!
Sandy and Randy Abbott
Camp Jeanne d’Arc, owners/directors
“Camp JDA: Empowering Young Women Since 1922”