I sat down with Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of American Camp Association, to talk about how families could choose the best overnight camps for their children.
In our interview (posted below), we discuss taking the time to research the options available and consider what camps would appeal most to your children. We also discuss concerns such as tuition costs, homesickness, and device dependence.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our talk:
- Do your research
There are thousands of overnight summer camps in the United States alone, ranging from traditional sleepaway camps to specialized sports camps. With this many options, there is surely to be one that suits your child’s needs. Tom suggests visiting as many as possible, and even trying a “family camp,” where prospective campers and their families can get a taste of the camp experience.
- Consider camp an investment
There’s no denying summer camp can be expensive, with tuition costing upwards of $10,000 for some programs. While the price tag can cause sticker shock, Tom reminds parents that attending summer camp helps kids develop critical thinking skills, build independence, and foster strong friendships. He also noted that financial aid and scholarships are offered by most camps.
- Camp is a learning opportunity
Many parents worry about academic loss during the summer months, and think summer camp will hinder their children’s learning progress. Tom noted that in addition to the skills noted above, many camps work with local schools to bridge the gap between the academic year and summer break to ensure children are retaining what they learned and still getting the benefits of camp.
- Communication is key
Tom emphasized the importance of parents/guardians maintaining a strong line of communication with camp directors and staff. While this doesn’t mean calling the camp every day to check on your kids, it does mean keeping in touch with the director and sharing concerns or questions you may have, even before and after the summer. This, as Tom, mentioned, includes being as honest as possible with camp leadership about your child. The more they know, the better experience they can help provide for your child.
This is a big one. Sending a child off to camp (as I myself am doing for the first time this summer) is scary task. We parents want to know our kids will be in good hands, and that they will be able to handle the experience. Trust is key here: trust in the camp director, counselors and other staff to provide our kids with a safe and supportive experience, and trust in our kids to be able to face the challenge of being on their own, learning to live and work with other children, and to handle whatever issues may come their way.
To learn more about choosing a summer camp for your child, please click on the video below.