By Matt Norman
So, your child really wants to go to camp this summer? That's great, because you really want your child to have something to do this summer other than watch Days of Our Lives. [Full disclosure: I spent one summer during my early teen years really getting into Days of Our Lives along with my older sister. OMG! THEY BURIED CARLY ALIVE! Yeah, I probably should've gone to camp that summer.] But how do you find the perfect camp to fit your child's interests as well as your family's schedule, budget, and all that good stuff?
That's where we come in. Here are a few tips to find the perfect camp match for your kids:
Budget and schedule
Not everyone won the Powerball so setting a budget is important. Don't over-extend yourself and stick to the budget you decide upon. Also make sure that the camp's schedule and your family's schedule are compatible -- not only the dates, but the times and duration of the camps as well.
Friends and camp
Going to camp is a great opportunity for kids to make new friends. Sometimes, though, it's a fine idea to find camps that your kids can attend with their current friends. Most likely your children and their friends have shared interests, so that simplifies the process of narrowing down which type of camp to attend. Which leads us to the next point:
Deciding on a type of camp to attend
There are so many options out there for kids these days. From STEM to sports; arts and music to equestrian; theater to Lego building. You name it, there's a camp out there for it. Consider your child's personality, temperament and interests when choosing a camp. You can call camps to get a daily schedule of activities to find out if it's something your child would want to do.
How will I know the camp is up to my standards as a parent?
Call the camps you're interested in and talk to them about their program. Ask about the counselors qualifications and how they are selected. Are they background checked? Do they have CPR and first aid training? How experienced are they in dealing with children in your child's age group? These are all great questions and any camp worth its mettle will answer them with no problem. If a camp can't answer your questions, or worse, won't return your calls, it's probably not a match for you.
You can find the answers to many of your questions at the Austin Summer Camp Fair on February 28th. We will have 60 Austin-area camps under one roof. Your family will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in activities from each camp so you can make the best, most educated decision on where to send your children, ages 4 - 18, for the summer.
When a camp is a match for your child, you'll see him or her growing in new ways. Increased independence, improved social skills and growth in new areas of learning are just a few of the benefits of camp. When your child comes home and can't wait to tell you about all the things they did at camp, you'll know you made the right choice. You can fill them in on "Days of Our Lives" later.