Summer will be here before we know it! Sending your children to camp is one of the best gifts you can give them. The exposure to new, exciting activities and the lifelong lessons they learn are invaluable. Think your little ones are ready to jump into the camp game? With so many options available, here are a few things to consider when looking at a new summer camp.
Is my child old enough for camp?
Obviously only you know your child and how much he or she can handle. However, in order to make a decision, you need to know what prospective camps provide for your child’s particular age group. Be sure to ask about the supervision ratio and how the staff is chosen. Inquire about the programs, including the range of activities and content quality. Programs should be uniquely tailored for each age group at camp. Parents should also ask how the facilities will be able to accommodate all of the age groups the camp might serve. Some camps offer a scaled-down version of their programs perfect for young campers, while simultaneously offering more variety, choice and exposure for the older ones.
What do I look for when visiting a camp?
When choosing a summer camp, first time families should get in contact with the camp director to ensure that the camp meets all requirements. You will have a lot of questions and the camp director should be able to answer them. Many summer camps adhere to specific programs. Art, sports and outdoor recreation along with swimming and lake activities are just some of the fun things your child can expect.
But there are other things you should try to observe. For instance, during your visit, take a look at the facilities and the grounds. Are they manicured and well maintained? Do things appear renovated, and do the owners reinvest in the infrastructure of the camp? There is a pride that can be seen in the presentation of the camp.
Speaking of Activities…
What will my child do at summer camp?
There are tons of camps out there to choose from. Some are more geared toward a specific activity, like a sports camp, while others offer a more well-rounded camp experience. Again, it’s important to consider your child, his or her age and their abilities. Younger children will generally do better in a camp with a variety of activities as they continue to refine their gross motor skills. However, older children may enjoy honing particular ball handling skills or strategies that can be done at a camp specifically geared toward the sport of their choice.
But camp isn’t just about developing skills. Children are exposed to nature, the outdoors and open space. These experiences have numerous benefits, especially for children raised in an urban environment. The exposure to new experiences helps children to explore new ways of thinking and perceiving the world around them. As we all know, young children don’t know what they like yet, mostly because they have never have been exposed to it!
So gear up mamas and papas! Now is the time to call around and book tours at the camps you are considering! Meet the owners, check out the pools, the lakes, the tennis courts! Ask about logistics, like how transportation is coordinated, and the communication that will go on between you and the camp. And remember: each camp will have its own rates, but don’t be shy, inquire about new family specials!
Although camp lasts only eight short weeks, the bonds that quickly develop between campers often last a lifetime. Doing the proper homework will ensure that your first time camp experience will be a great one!
Marisa Kochnover is a proud alumnus and parent of a current camper at Deer Mountain Day Camp, based in Rockland County, NY.
About Deer Mountain Day Camp
Deer Mountain Day Camp is one of the first established and most respected day camps in the Tri-State area. Located just minutes from the George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges, private door-to-door transportation is provided for Manhattan campers. Family-owned since opening in 1956, Deer Mountain sits on 25 beautiful mountainside acres surrounding a spring-fed lake. Deer Mountain Day Camp is also an accredited member of the American Camp Association and a member of the New York State Camp Directors Association.
To schedule a tour, call (845) 354-2727.