There are a lot of good summer camps out there. But you want to send your kids to a great one. How can you rest assured you’ve found the “crème de la camp” without losing sleep over summer scheduling? Try this simple checklist to help you separate the great from the merely good.
First things first: How does your potential camp rank on the safety scale? Accreditation from the American Camp Association assures that a camp meets certain health, safety and program quality standards. Beyond that, ask a few more questions: Is the staff first aid certified? What camper-to-staff ratio does the camp maintain? How are kids supervised during the day and checked out at the end of it? Your camp should take safety as seriously as you do.
A camp is only as good as its staff, so ask some questions about your potential camp’s people: How old are they? What kind of experience and education do they have? How are they hired and trained? How many return year after year? A great camp will give your kids meaningful mentorship from dedicated, experienced people—not just teenaged babysitters.
Is your potential camp on a mission? Take a look beyond the basic activities it offers and ask some philosophical questions: What is the camp’s mission or philosophy? What educational or corporate partners does it align itself with? What do its leaders value? How do they view their role in your kids’ education? Resist the urge to focus on what your kids will do or make; ask instead about how they will learn.
Once you’ve checked out your potential camp’s philosophical side, take a good look at those activities. What will your kids do all day? How is the day structured? Are different activities well balanced? Do kids of all ages all do the same thing, or is there a more age-specific approach? Is it fun? (This is camp, after all.) A great camp will consider these factors and more, to thoughtfully craft a great experience for your kids.
5. Location, location, location (and other matters of convenience)
You want your kids to have a great summer, but camp is hardly the only thing on your plate. Your chosen camp should fit your needs. Is there a location nearby? Can you drop off as early and pick up as late as you need to? Does it provide lunch? Convenience certainly shouldn’t eclipse quality or safety, but you shouldn’t ignore it either.
Considering all these factors in advance should help you choose a camp that will give your family a great summer experience.
This article was contributed by Galileo, which operates innovation camps across the Bay Area for kids from pre-K through 8th grade.