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Guest post by Frank Lawson
Tips for Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Your Child
For parents, choosing the right summer camp for your child is just as important as picking the right daycare center, school, or club. It’s a decision that deserves some research, thought, and planning. Though there are hundreds of summer camps across the U.S., there may only be a handful of camps in your vicinity that are right for your child. Here are some tips to make sure you choose the right summer camp.
Involve your child in the process
Ultimately you have the final say on where your child goes for summer camp, but there’s a greater chance that they’ll have a fun, productive time if they play some role in the decision-making process.
The three major choices you have when picking a summer camp are sleepaway vs. day camp, long distance or close to home, and specialty or general interest. Ask your child if they feel ready to attend a camp that’s 24/7 or one’s that’s further away from home. Don’t push it, but encourage your child to step outside their comfort zone. If your child is super into a certain sport, activity, or field of study, you may want to consider a specialty camp. If not, a general interest camp might make them feel more comfortable.
“Be certain to include your child in the decision-making process. Together with your child, explore the camp options and examine the materials the camps provide … As children become better acquainted with the camp experience and more involved in the decision-making process, they will have less anxiety about going away to camp,” suggests the American Camp Association.
How to spot good and bad camps
What are the attributes of a good summer camp? First and foremost, the camp will have a focused curriculum. You’re not paying a camp to just send your kids out to wander aimlessly in the woods. You want them to learn and to experience interesting things. A good camp will have low staff turnover and will have some sort of positive presence - whether that be online or via the recommendations of friends and neighbors.
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Never stop planning.
Planning for the future starts the day you step on your high school campus. Which classes should I take? Which skills do I need to improve to be successful in school? Should I start writing/updating my resume? When do I take the PSAT/SAT/ACT/SATII/AP etc? There are steps we can take every month of our high school career to position ourselves to meet our highest goals after high school.
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Not just a summer camp, but a summer opportunity.
Summer is a time for us to improve ourselves, whether it be athletically, socially, or academically. One way to best understand what we want to improve is by asking ourselves what we want from the year ahead. Are we looking to make the varsity team? Are we applying to high school or college? Are we developing an interest of ours? Do we want to serve our community?