Most kids are excited for the summer, anxious to get out of the daily rigors of school and eager to enjoy the endless stream of free time.
A week in and you would be hearing complaints of boredom – unless, of course, you have no rules about limiting screen time. Many children would happily spend all of their waking hours in front of a screen, but this is harmful in more ways than one, and really not the most productive use of their time.
You’re not about to sign up to be their entertainment director for two months, so your best option is to sign them up for a structured program that would keep them occupied and benefit them in many other ways. This is where summer camp comes in.
What to Look For
There are all kinds of seasonal kids’ camps available these days. They come in varying durations, rates, conditions, concentrations, and, of course, standards. You have your work cut out for you in zeroing in on the best one for your children.
What should be some of the key things you should look for when shopping around for the right summer camp?
There are sure to be great new camps out there, but it’s always safer to go with a program that has already established itself as high-quality and well-organized. If a camp has stayed in business after so many years, it’s a reasonable assumption that it’s doing something right. Poorly run programs self-destruct after just a short time.
2. Mission and Vision
Every camp should have a guiding philosophy. Find out what this is for your prospects and filter out the ones that don’t have a mission and a vision that cater to your children’s needs. Naturally, these philosophies vary, depending on the focus of the camp. Athletic training camps would, of course, differ in their tenets and goals from music camps or robotics camps.
3. Impressive Staff
Ask outright what the campers-to-staffers ratio is. No matter how competent the staff members are, if the camp is overpopulated, they won’t be able to perform their job efficiently. Find out how meticulous the vetting system is. If the camp you want is concentrated on a particular skill, ask for credentials so you can assess how qualified the counselors or teachers are.
4. Availability of Choices
While a camp may have a central focus, it shouldn’t mean that campers have to be without choices. It’s good to offer at least two program plans, so they can pick the one that is most useful to them.
It would be even better if they can customize their own program, putting together offerings that they feel serve them best.
Many sleepaway camps are situated in some remote, out-of-the-way location. Day camps are more accessible, but it should still have a great communications plan for updating parents on what’s happening at camp and for getting hold of them in case of emergency.
Definitely, a consistent policy on phone use should be upheld, so it’s up to the administration to ensure that communication with parents is efficient.
It would be preferable if the camp your children attend is affiliated with and accredited by pertinent associations and governing bodies. Participation in recognized camps is something that would add weight to your children’s résumés when they start applying for university and even work later on.
If a program is exclusive, that’s for a reason. Exclusivity certainly suggests a higher level of prestige, but it doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to fees. The program could be discriminating based on skills, only taking on campers with acknowledged aptitude for the disciplines honed at camp.
For that matter, scholarships are a hallmark of a truly worthy program, putting more emphasis on advocacy instead of business.
It makes sense to send your children to a camp that is practical for them to attend, location-wise, budget-wise, restriction-wise, etc. These details all work together to give you a filtered list of possibilities.
A Wonderful Experience
Picking the right camp for your kids contributes a great deal to the kind of summer camp experience they’ll end up having. The benefits are there, but if you don’t do your due diligence, it might end up being a waste of time and money or, worse, an altogether horrible episode in their young lives.
Camps offer lifelong memories and skills, so make sure that you pick a winner for your kids.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.