It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking About Summer Camp

For many, summer fun means summer camp. Some preliminary research into camps now can ensure your child’s summer is full of unforgettable adventures.

Obviously, the first question to ask is whether or not your child is ready for camp. Once you’ve decided that he or she is, open yourself up to the wide variety of options that the East End offers. Before you check out our camp guide overview posted on DansPapers.com, try to narrow down your search by answering these questions:

First, consider some basic questions:

—Is your child ready for sleep away camp, or would he/she prefer a day camp?

—How long—both in terms of hours and days—would you like your child to spend at camp?

—What is your budget for camp?

—What are your child’s friends doing? Do you want him/her to go to camp with friends or to try something outside of their comfort zone?

—Does the size of a camp matter to you?

—What kind of activities does your child enjoy?

—Do you want the camp to focus on a specific theme? (arts, sports, music, etc.) or to be more all encompassing?

—How important is structure? Do you want your child to be on a set schedule or to have the freedom to choose the activities he/she participates in?

—How far do you want your child to travel? Will they need transportation?

Once you have a feel for the type of camp your child would like to attend, it’s time to get into the details. If possible, try to visit the camp before making any definitive decisions; many have open houses prior to the start date. Gather information from as many sources as possible, including the camp director and participants, and keep the following questions in mind:

—What is a typical day like at the camp? What is the camp’s mission/philosophy?

—What are the ages/qualifications of the counselors? How are they selected and trained? If you have a chance to visit the camp before your child’s session starts, note if the counselors are engaging, enthusiastic and having fun. Is this a “summer job” or something they enjoy doing?

—How long has the camp been in business? While newer camps can certainly provide amazing summer memories, there’s also something to be said for a camp that has been open for years. What is the return rate for campers and counselors?

—What’s the counselor to camper ratio?

—How are kids divided at the camp? By age? Type of activity? Gender?

—What activities or facilities are offered? How much time is a child allowed to spend using a facility he/she particularly loves?

—How much choice does your child have in the activities he/she participates in while at camp? How structured are the days?

—Does the camp have security personnel?

—What kind of health care is provided? Are medical personnel on site or on call? Where is a child taken if there is a serious medical situation?

—If the camp has a pool, are there certified lifeguards on staff?

—How often is the family given a chance to communicate with the camper? Are electronics allowed?

—What is the dining situation? Can the camp accommodate people with specific dining needs: kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.?

—What is each child required to bring to camp?

—Is transportation provided to/from camp?

—Do kids travel while at camp?

—How does each week/day vary?

Summer camp can be a great option for structured fun outside of the school environment. Take the time to do the research, make the decision together, listen to your gut instinct and, above all, get ready to have an incredible summer on the East End!

And, any college aged kid who is looking to enjoy an East End summer while gaining valuable experience in the publishing industry is invited to apply for an editorial internship at Dan’s Papers in Southampton. Send a resume and two writing samples to Stacy Dermont, stacy@danspapers.com.

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