Blog post written by Sandy Abbott, Owner/Director, Camp Jeanne d’Arc
Choosing a sleep-away summer camp for your daughter is no small task. In fact, it can change the course of her entire life. No pressure, right? The good news is, making the decision is not as hard as it sounds. Here are 5 easy steps to follow when making that important family decision.
#1 Identify what you want and start your search: Now-a-days there are sleep-away summer camps for just about everything. Does your daughter want to attend a camp that focuses on excelling in one particular activity, or a camp that exposes her to a wide range of different experiences? Does she want an all girls camp or co-ed? Talk about it with your daughter and start 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 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. Never allow the “none of my friends go there” factor to influence your decision. In no time, your daughter will have friends from all over the world to write home about.
#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, this is a good time to include your daughter in the decision making. Make sure all 3 options are acceptable to you before you present them to her.
#4 Schedule a Call: At this point, you should know your prospective camps pretty well. You should be able to easily identify their program structure and value system. It’s time to take it a step further and set up a meeting, phone call or Skype call with the camp director. They will be 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.
So, 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”