Deciding on the right summer camp for your child is a big decision filled with many considerations. Big camp or small? Same gender or co-ed? Specialty camp or general? Lots and lots of decisions to make and perhaps one of the very best ways to help you make those decisions is to personally visit the camps that you are considering. And, of course, the optimal time for your visit is when camp is in session and you can see the kids at their activities and interacting with the staff.
The following will help you to get the maximum benefit from your visits:
• Make sure to schedule the visits when your child will be available and enthused about the trip. Don’t plan the visits for when your child will be over-scheduled or stressed about something else (a sports event, visit to Grandma, etc.). Their impression of each camp will most definitely impact the final decision.
• Camp tours can be tiring so don’t schedule more than two or three tours in one day. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and talking and you don’t want to be over-scheduled and rush through the experience.
• Make certain to observe children that are close to your child’s age. Watch them at a few activities and, of course, ask to see their bunks. If the timing is right, visit the dining hall and watch how mealtimes are handled.
• Leave enough time to speak with the Camp Director and save your most important questions for them. If you are the type of person that sometimes forgets which questions to ask (I know that I am!), prepare a list in advance and refer to it when conversing with the Director.
• After the tour chat with your child and get their opinion. What did they like and why and what was a turn-off? Are any of these things a total deal-breaker or are they open to discussion? (Remember that you don’t want to have to talk your child into going to a specific camp. That’s often a recipe for disaster.)
Camp tours can and should be fun excursions and ultimately make your decision-making much easier. After all, there’s nothing like really seeing a facility. Videos and websites simply don’t tell the entire story.
And if this all seems like too much, remember that in not that many years you’ll be doing this again but this time it will be college tours.