Choosing a summer camp for your child requires careful preparation and planning.  Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.  The following suggestions will go a long way to ensure that your child will enjoy fond memories of his or her summer adventure for years to come:

1) Be clear about the objectives you have for your child’s camp experience.  Are you seeking an interactive social experience, an academic camp, or intellectually stimulating activities? Are you seeking a camp that offers physical activities or sports which will enhance the development of new skills, or would your child thrive in the complete immersion of a new environment?

Take the time to ensure that your objectives are in alignment with the program that you and your child choose.

2) Spend quality time with your child to discuss the type of camping experience he or she is most interested in.  Together, review the range of camp opportunities that are available.  Be sure that the objectives you and your child want from the camp are consistent and attainable.  Remember that your child is an individual, and may not be interested in the same type of camp that you would have chosen.

3) Take time to check out the camp in terms of its location, the qualifications of its staff, and if possible, meet the Camp Director and/or supervisors.  Ask pertinent questions about their approach to discipline, and how they handle the first day adjustment routines to make new campers feel at ease.

4) If your child has an allergy concern, make inquiries concerning the camp’s policy to ensure the safety of children with allergies.

5) Inquire about First Aid training requirements for camp staff members, waivers, and insurance.

6) Read all camp criteria carefully to ensure that your child will be prepared each day with all of the necessary clothing and materials.  Keep in mind that arriving late or leaving early, can be unsettling and disruptive to your child’s camp experience.

Life is not always perfect, and there can be uncomfortable challenges that arise at camp, including separation anxiety.  Allow a day or two for your child to try to resolve any minor issues on his or her own.

If the situation persists, talk with a camp supervisor who can provide guidance, additional support, or possibly restructure activities that will help to resolve or minimize the issue.  Facing challenges and learning from them are important life experiences, and assist with the growing and learning process.

Encourage your child to practise approaching daily challenges with a spirit of optimism!  This thought can, of course, be applied in one’s adult life as well. What new and exciting adventures are in store today?

(Published Oakville Today, April 19, 2012)

Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.

Founder and Director, Glenburnie School

Providing a progressive, innovative private school education