We are getting so close to summer vacation! For a lot of kids this means going to summer camp – which can be super fun or not so fun if you’re not into it. Finding the right summer camp can be a bit tricky. Fireborn’s got 5 tips to help you find a safe, fun, camp that your kid will love! In the episode, we reference a few things for you to check out: The American Camp Association How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off by Adam Grant.
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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…
How to find the right summer camp for your child…
We know safety is probably a number one concern since you are entrusting your child to these people. So, how do you find something safe?
- Look at the American Camp Association’s list of camps. You can find it at ACACamps.org. They certify camps for safety and then they also have loads of recommendations and descriptions of tons of different camps.
- Check out online reviews. How do they respond to any negative feedback? That could really indicate how they will react to you if you’re worried about something going on at camp.
- Check a few references ahead of time.
- Make sure there is enough supervision. The typical classroom has a ratio of 1 teacher to over 20 students. You want your child to have time to shine this summer and not get looked over, so a ratio of 1:10 would be great.
- Take a look at their mission statement and philosophy. How well thought-through is it? Is it pretty generic or really specific? Do they go into specifics about how they achieve their goals? The more focused and clear they are, the better.
- Look for some red flags, like
- How well organized are they?
- Can people answer all of your questions?
- Are they excited about the program?
- Ask a lot of questions about things such as:
- Hiring practices, training, and screening.
- How they deal with discipline and conflict between campers.
- You can also look at the ACA’s recommended list of questions to ask.
Okay, once you make sure you have a safe space for your child, you may want to think about what you want children to get out of camp.
- Camp is a really great opportunity for children to learn a lot of great skills that can be left out of a traditional school curriculum, like empathy, communication skills, and a can-do attitude. These are things that can get overlooked during the school year when the focus is on grades, but these are hugely important skills that help children succeed later in life.
The third thing I look for in a camp is FUN!
- Fun is really important just for its own sake, but if you don’t think that’s enough, well, it also helps children with developing internal motivation, finding purpose in life, and building their communication and interpersonal skills. When children are having fun, that’s when they do a lot of really great learning. Fun actually primes the brain to want to learn.
- You just can’t be doing academics all day long. Some parents want to send their children to math camp because their child is behind in math. And that’s fine, as long as the child has fun at camp. If no fun is being had, it will just make your child hate math even more. But if your child is having fun, he’ll be more open to learning.
The fourth thing we suggest when picking a camp is making it your child’s choice.
- Children don’t get a lot of opportunities over the school year to make decisions about their lives. Summer is a great chance to let them make decisions.
- No matter how cool the camp is, if your child will be annoyed that you picked it, she’s not going to like it even if it’s the best camp ever.
- If you need to narrow down some choices for your child, you want to think about what will your child enjoy doing?
Finally, you want to think about (with your child) what any other goals you have for camp are. Some things you may want to consider are:
- What kind of activity is your child interested in?
- How much time does your child really want away from the family?
- How many other campers does your child want? Some children thrive in smaller groups, while others love a crowd.
Don’t worry, it’s not too late to sign your child up for camp! There is probably a camp out there looking for your kid. Camp attendance has been decreasing recently, so some camps are still looking to fill spots.
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