Summer camp 2013? That’s right. Camp may be over and your children are back in school, but parents looking for ways to make budget-friendly deicisins for next summer or for families who would like to explore camp options, now is the time to think about NYC summer camps.Here are some benefits for parents to begin the camp search now: Talk to other parents – September is a great time of year for parents to talk to other parents about their child’s camp experience. Camp is still fresh on the mind for both parents and campers and many children may be talking about their camp experiences when back at school. Word of mouth is a great way to begin your summer camp search. Open houses – Many camps have open houses and fall festivals that offer families a chance to see the camp facilities and get a feel for the camp. It is also a good opportunity for families to get to know the camp director and ask questions about the camp philosophy and program while in the camp setting. Look for camp early for savings – Families who have already decided on a camp for their child shouldn’t wait to register. Many camps offer early bird specials. Registering early can be a real savings for parents and also ensures that your child won’t be shut out of the camp program he or she wants. Ask the camp if they offer payment plans which can make it easier for parents to pay for camp over the year. Some camps also allow you to pre-pay the camp season and will give you a significant discount. Talk to camp directors – Parents want to make sure they click with the camp director. Speaking with the camp director and asking some key questions is a good way for families to find out about a camp’s philosophy and if it matches your own. Get to know the camp director through phone calls, correspondence and in person. Make sure to give the camp director an accurate picture of your child and what your specific goals are for his or her camp experience. Home visits and camp fairs – These are both good ways to get to know a camp director and the camp program as a whole. Ask about the camps’ mission statement and what type of child is successful at camp. Camp fairs bring dozens of camps to a community and provides parents the opportunity to speak one-on-one with many different camp directors in a single day. Often times, a camp director will come to your home for a visit which allows you to get to know the director, and equally important, for the director to get to know your family. Make camp part of gifts – Instead of purchasing another toy for your child, you can make camp a holiday gift. Camp can also be given as a birthday present. Prepare child with overnights – If you are considering sleepaway camp, schedule sleepovers with friends and relatives and make sure these overnights are successful. If your child felt panicked and needed to come home in the middle of the night, they may not be ready for sleepaway camp. Need assistance with your search for kids camps in NYC? Visit the American Camp Association, NY and NJ’s camp website to search day and sleepaway camps by location, session length, cost, etc. Parents can also call the ACA, NY and NJ’s Camper Placement Specialist Renee Flax for free, one-on-one advice in finding the right camp for their child 212.391.5208. To search for a camp with ACA, click here.