how_to_choose_the_right_summer_campWhen it’s time to decide which summer camp would be best for your child, you’ll probably think of these factors first:

  • How convenient is the location?
  • What does the facility look like?
  • Is the price affordable?
  • Will my child know anyone else at the camp?
  • What activities are offered?

Those are good factors to consider and great questions to ask. But, if you want to choose the program that’s the best fit for your child, with the most long-term benefits, you’ll want to consider a few more factors. So, we’re sharing resources from around the web to help you make the right decision.

Tips from Peterson’s

To quote an article on Peterson’s educational site, Choosing a Great Summer Program: Advice for Parents, “Good summer programs encourage kids to learn new things about themselves and to explore unfamiliar activities. As you begin to research programs, you should ask how a program will influence your children now and in the future. “

The article also suggests that you talk to the people running the summer program about the program’s philosophy and unique features. Also ask how your child will be challenged by the program and motivated to try new things. How is personal growth fostered? How does the program measure and reward success? Deal with conflict? Discipline a child when he or she breaks a rule?

My Record Journal chimes in

Once you’ve identified one or more camps with a beneficial philosophy and child development plan, you’ll want to ask more practical nuts and bolts questions. In their article, 4 Tips on How to Choose a Summer Day Camp (sponsored by the Meriden YMCA), other key questions to ask include:

  • Who licenses the camp?
  • Are staff members certified in CPR and first aid?
  • If there is an emergency, what is the plan?
  • Does the camp provide accommodations for children with special needs? If so, what?
  • What orientation program is provided for first time campers?
  • Are there parents I may contact for a reference? tips

Also ask about hours of operation and if any aftercare is available. And, some camps only run for a couple of weeks during the summer, which wouldn’t provide a season-long solution if you’re hoping to use this camp as child care for the summer.

Will there be swimming involved? If so, are lessons offered? (And, although this question wasn’t listed in the article, Finding the Best Day Camp for Your Child, it’s crucial: how many people will be supervising the children while they are swimming? What are their credentials?) reminds us to not assume

You would think that camps would not use counselors with criminal backgrounds – but, as’s article (10 questions to ask when choosing a summer camp) reminds us, don’t assume. Ask if background checks are done. Also ask about:

  • Counselor-to-camp ratios
  • Ages of counselors: the American Camp Association (ACA) recommends that 80% of the staff is ages 18 and up, with all of them being at least 16 – and at least two years older than the campers they supervise.
  • Counselor return rate: at most camps, ACA says, 40 to 60% of staff return. If the number is lower, ask why. Figure that 50% is good – and more is better.

Horizon’s 2015 summer camp program

We strive to provide a safe, healthy and fun summer camp that also provides a unique theme-based learning experience for children of all ages, stages and backgrounds. We have experienced and well trained teachers and we encourage parental involvement. Because of the educational enrichment component of our program, we’re a first-line defense against summer learning loss!

We’d love to talk to you about your summer camp needs. Enroll your students now!

Horizon Summer Camp