If you’re considering sleepaway camps for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions and maybe a few fears. The truth is, though, that sometimes our kids like being away from us. So if they’re ready to take the step towards independence with an overnight camp, the real question is: are we?
It’s normal to be nervous and second guess your decisions – especially when it comes to your kids. The best way to help overcome this concern and doubt is to be prepared. While accredited camps meet stringent health and safety standards, run criminal checks and so on, it’s a good idea to talk directly to Camp Directors to get answers to the following questions:
• What’s the camper to staff ratio?
• What are the staff ages and qualifications?
• What is the level of supervision? Is there a buddy system?
• What are the safety guidelines, around water, for example?
• Are different age groups together for some/any activities?
• How do counselors deal with discipline issues? Are they trained in conflict resolution or in identifying signs of bullying?
• Is camp staff ever alone, one-on-one, with campers?
And one of the most revealing questions you can ask a Camp Director is: “What is your camper return rate?"
Remember, thousands of kids have wonderful experiences with summer programs at summer camps every year and by employing a little vigilance there’s no reason at all your child won’t be one of them!
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