Broker Check
How to Pick a Summer Camp

How to Pick a Summer Camp

| June 23, 2023

How to Pick a Summer Camp

 Enrolling your kids in camp can give everyone a little more ROL this summer. Children get to spend time doing things they enjoy with other kids, usually without their eyes glued to a screen. And parents get a little extra help with childcare and family entertainment while they're grinding through their work weeks.

 Discuss these four questions with your kids and your spouse to find a camp -- or two -- that meshes with the rest of your summer schedule and budget.

 1. What is my child interested in?

 Summer camp should be an opportunity for children to explore new interests and immerse themselves in things that they love. Some kids will respond to a camp that's structured around those interests. Others might prefer a more open-ended camp that allows them some flexibility in creating their own experience.

 What a camp probably won't do is turn a child who hates kicking a ball into a passionate soccer player. Look for camps that will nurture and challenge your child's gifts without making them feel like you're forcing them into an activity.

 2. What kinds of camps will be best for my child?

 Younger children typically enroll in day camps where everyone goes home at the end of the day. Busy parents should see if their local school district offers day camps that can keep kids occupied during working hours.

 Middle schoolers and older children have more opportunities for residential camps. These “overnight” camps include food and lodging along with a more immersive experience. Parents who spent their own summers bunking near a lake, making new friends, and learning traditional camping skills might want to dust off their old photo albums and see if a few days away from home appeals to their own kids.

 There are probably specialty camps in your area that fall into both categories. Your budding athlete might be able to spend a week "living" on a local college campus and learning their favorite game from professional coaches and student athletes. And your local rec department probably offers sport camps that last a few hours every day for kids who aren't ready for overnight stays yet.

 3. What do I need to know?

 Accreditation and certification. Check if larger residential camps have been accredited by the American Camping Association or the Better Business Bureau. For sports camps, look for instructors who have certification from their sport's governing body or verifiable experience.

Responsibility. Find the name and contact information for the person running the camp and ask who will be supervising your child on a daily basis.

Schedule. If the camp doesn't provide an itinerary, don't be afraid to ask for one.

Accommodation. Will the camp be taking any trips away from the main site? What kinds of supplies does your child need to bring? For residential camps, where specifically will your child be staying? Who will be supervising them overnight?

Safety protocols and health guidelines. Make sure the camp takes necessary precautions to protect your child and has policies and training in place to treat them if they are injured.

 4. What's the right cost-to-experience ratio?

 Summer camp can be a lot like booking a vacation: you often get what you pay for. A more expensive overnight sports camp might give your child a chance to work with top-notch coaches. A less-expensive rec camp might not have the same caliber of instruction, but it might offer the kind of relaxed fun that appeals to kids who don't take games too seriously yet.

 Parents also have to square these considerations with their summer budgets, which might include vacations, higher family transportation costs, and more weekly entertainment. Let's meet to discuss how our Life-Centered Planning Process can make sure summer fun doesn’t turn up the heat on your other financial goals.