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Selecting a Summer Camp

Published
October 19, 2021
Topics
Family Support, Recreation

Looking for a summer camp for your child? Wondering where to get financial assistance? Here is some information to get you started.

YOU AND YOUR CHILD

  • What do you want your child to get from a camp experience?
  • What does your child want to get from a camp experience?
  • Is your child ready for a day camp or a sleepaway camp?

CAMP DIRECTOR AND STAFF

  • Who is the camp director and what are their qualifications?
  • What kind of screening process does the camp use to select staff?
  • What are the staff members’ qualifications and how are they supervised?
  • If there is an educational or remedial program? Is it staffed by licensed professionals?
  • Are any staff members multilingual?
  • What is the professional staff-to-camper ratio?
  • How does the staff address behavioral problems?
  • How does camp staff respond to a child’s fear of or resistance to a new or intense activity, e.g. swimming, horseback riding, boating?

CAMP PROGRAM

  • What is the overall philosophy of the camp? What are their goals for the campers?
  • What is the age range of the campers? How are they grouped for activities?
  • What is a typical day like? What are the activities? Do campers choose their activities?
  • Is one-to-one assistance or instruction provided for some activities?
  • What do campers do on a rainy day? Do they stay at camp or visit other facilities?
  • What is the range of abilities and disabilities of the campers?
  • Would you like your child to be included with campers without disabilities for all or part of the day?
  • How does the program meet individual campers’ needs?
  • What percentage of campers return?

CAMP SETTING

  • What is the overall layout of the camp?
  • Are the buildings and equipment safe, well-lit and in good repair?
  • What are the facilities like for indoor and outdoor sports and games? Are they accessible to campers with physical disabilities?
  • Where are the kitchen and dining areas? Do campers and staff eat together?
  • What is the food like? Who prepares it? Will special dietary needs be met?
  • Do campers sleep in tents? Cabins? How many counselors stay with campers overnight?
  • Where are bathroom and shower facilities? How often are they cleaned?
  • What types of medical supports are available at/to the camp?
  • Are there laundry facilities available? Do campers get support with their laundry?

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • Is the camp licensed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene?
  • Is the camp accredited by the American Camping Association? You can find out by visiting find.acacamps.org.
  • What is the procedure for medication administration? Medical emergencies?
  • How will your child get to camp? Is transportation provided?
  • What type of access do parents or caregivers have once their child is at camp? Is there a visitors’ day? Can a visit be arranged on non-visitors’ days? Are phone calls, computers, cell phones, or email access allowed?
  • How does the camp share campers’ progress with parents, caregivers, and/or schools after the camp season?
  • What payment and/or scholarship options does the camp offer?
  • What other useful information can you, the parent or caregiver, share with the camp?

Financial Assistance Information

START EARLY TO FIND FUNDING FOR YOUR CHILD

Call the camp directly to see if they offer financial assistance or scholarships. If they don’t, ask the camp if they know where previous campers have received aid.