Finding the right summer camp that incorporates your needs as a parent and the desires of your child is important. Most summer camps can accommodate many specific interests, but you still need to consult with your child to understand what their expectations are. You both should be on the same page regarding what you expect to gain from the experience. Before you both decide though, it is important that you determine if your child has any physical, intellectual or social limitations.
When considering any summer camp program, the first thing you will need to learn about is the specific focus of the camp. There are so many specialized camps for kids so finding one that matches your child’s interests is important and should be relatively easy. As well, you will want to know if the structural environment is desirable, what type of social interaction will occur and how much independence the children will be allowed. And will they allow your child to go at his or her own pace?
There are many different types of camps available, such as co-ed, all girls’ and all boys’ camps, as well as camps for siblings. Each of these types of camps can be further sub-categorized as general, academic, travel, sport camps and special needs. Summer camp programs provide boarding, daily and evening activity programs and food. They can last for short to long periods of time; from one week to three months.
The cost of a summer camp program is another thing to consider. Keep in mind that there may be costs in addition to the basic camp fees that can include traveling to the site, extra entertainment costs and any additional, personal camp supplies that may be needed. For a parent who works, a summer one can be a great alternative to babysitters or a nanny, considering that your child will not be attending school at this time.
As for location of the camp, it is up to you how far away you will feel comfortable letting your child go. There are advantages in choosing a camp located in your state; the reasons being costs, accessibility and simply distance. Out-of-state summer camps may offer certain specialized programs and benefits that you cannot find locally. There are summer camps that are academic in nature and are dedicated to specific areas of learning, as well as special needs camps for those who need special considerations.
Those types of camps are specially designed to accommodate kids who are disabled, need special food or have diet requirements, have learning disabilities and more. Just keep in mind that a great summer camp experience can be a long-term investment that will affect many other areas of your child’s life in a positive way. Kids and teens attend summer camps for the opportunity to experience enriching and rewarding activities. They also go because they can gain knowledge in a specific field of interest.
There are summer camp programs on college campuses available in large U.S. cities, like New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia as well as other countries, like England. Today’s teen can choose a program in which he or she can combine multiple activities, like learning a language while in a community service program in Venezuela or another exotic locale. Community service also teaches your child the value of giving back.
A summer camp with this in mind helps your teenager complete high school community service requirements while he or she assists in the construction of new classrooms, works with orphans, on hurricane reconstruction on the Gulf Coast or by teaching a sport to underprivileged kids in an urban setting. There are also summer camps for “tweens”, or those kids who are between ten and twelve.
Teen program directors have realized that middle school aged kids are looking for new and exciting programs as well. Now tweens have a wide variety of options open to them. There are unique language programs, marine science and sailing programs and adventure travel programs; all tailored to maturity level and educational experience. Although learning a foreign language is not a new idea, combining it with other interests is a new occurrence.
There are many language programs overseas that incorporate a home stay, where a student is matched with a host family. This can enrich the student’s experience in the form of a cultural exchange and community service. There are many activities to go along with language studies. Teens can study photography, painting or cooking while learning a language. They can study architecture while learning French.
There are even programs available for teens that offer the chance to learn rare languages, like Arabic or Modern Greek here in the U.S. For more exotic and intensive travel, now your child can live with a host family in a rural village, hike to ancient ruins and help build a school for kids, all in a four week trip.
With the latest trends moving towards the more exotic, you can find teen summer camps for travel to Thailand, Senegal, Bolivia or any number of exotic and remote locations. While these programs previously were about visiting busy tourist attractions, some have transformed into study and knowledge centers. Creating a more authentic and enriching cultural experience is what their new objective is.