The ground has yet to thaw, but summertime will be here before we know it. And for the throngs of East End kids, summer fun means summer camp. Researching camps now can ensure your child enjoys unforgettable adventures, friendships and learning experiences in the warmer months.
Before narrowing down your summer camp options, consider some basic questions:
1. Is your child ready for sleep away camp, or would he/she prefer a day camp?
2. How long—both in terms of hours and days—would you like your child to spend at camp?
3. What is your budget for camp?
4. What are your child’s friends doing? Do you want him/her to go to camp with friends?
5. What kind of activities does your child enjoy?
6. Do you want the camp to focus on a specific theme or to be more all-encompassing?
7. 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?
8. 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:
1. What is a typical day like at the camp? What is the camp’s mission/philosophy?
2. What are the ages/qualifications of the counselors? How are they selected and trained?
3. How long has the camp been in business? While newer camps can certainly provide amazing summer memories, a camp that has been open for years typically has staying power for a reason.
4. What is the return rate for campers and counselors?
5. What’s the counselor-to-camper ratio?
6. How are kids divided at the camp? By age? Type of activity? Gender?
7. What activities or facilities are offered? How much time is a child allowed to spend using a facility he/she particularly loves?
8. How much choice does your child have in the activities he/she participates in while at camp? How structured are the days?
9. 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?
10. If the camp has a pool, are there certified lifeguards on staff?
11. How often is the family given a chance to communicate with the camper? Are electronics allowed?
12. What is the dining situation? Can the camp accommodate people with specific dining needs?
13. What is each child required to bring to camp?
14. Is transportation provided to/from camp?
15. Do kids travel while at camp?
16. How does each week/day vary?
Summer camp can be a great option for structured fun outside of the school environment. Once you’ve decided that your child is ready for camp, open yourself up to the wide variety of options that the East End offers.
Take the time to do the research, make the decision with your child, listen to your gut instinct and, above all, get ready to have an incredible summer on the East End!
And, any college-aged person 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, [email protected].
Visit our Summer Camp Guide for a listing of local camps, as well as more helpful articles about choosing the right camp and more.