While some parents shed tears at just the idea of sending their precious child to sleepaway camp, others happily pack their trunks and send them away for six weeks. And if you’re trying to find the best camp for your kid, how do you choose from the more than 8,400 overnight camps in the U.S? Here’s some advice from professional camp consultants to help you narrow it down.
The place - How far are you willing to travel? Are you okay with putting your kid on a plane alone? Do you want bunks with Wi-Fi or something more old school? And how long do you want your kid to be gone at camp? You’ll need to know these answers to start your search.
The people - Some camps are co-ed and some are single sex, some are small, others have 500 campers. Do you want your camper to wear a uniform at camp? When you decide about these factors, you can zero in on possible camp matches and then call or arrange a visit to get an idea of the “culture” of the camp. Every camp isn’t right for every kid and you know your little one best.
The program - If your kid is into musical theater, they might not enjoy a camp focused on wilderness skills, but there’s more to consider than that. How many kids are first-time campers at 12 and how many campers have been coming since kindergarten and forming friendships every summer? Some programs are super structured, others allow a lot of free time, and you know what would be ideal for your kid.
The policies - Camps have procedures to deal with everything from homesick kiddos to peanut allergies, but you should ask about them before you send your kid there. Talk to parents of an older camper to learn their experiences over the years so you can know what to expect.