Prepare Happy Campers
Select the Right Camp For Your Child
Photo courtesy of YMCA Camp Tockwogh, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Worton, Maryland.
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Summer camp is a time-honored tradition, rich with activities, newfound friendships and a lifetime of memories. Explore your camp options well in advance of summer to select the best one (or more than one!) for your child.
Why choose camp?
According to the RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, children who participate in summer programs, like experiential learning activities offered in an organized camp, are less likely to experience a significant summer learning slide. Camp also enhances a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Activities build social skills, teamwork and independence, which all contribute to stronger self-confidence and leadership abilities.
What to consider
Together with your child, decide what skills you want your child to gain, and identify camps that fit her needs and interests as well as your family’s values.
Narrow your choices by attending camp fairs to see many camps at one time and talk to their representatives. Ask friends about camps their children have attended and which they have enjoyed.
Look for overnight camps accredited by the American Camp Association. Camps that receive the ACA’s stamp of approval must meet up to 300 standards for health, safety and program quality.
Day and specialty camps should carry a current state child care license. Staff should be trained in emergency, communication and safety procedures, behavior management techniques (including handling the common bout of homesickness) and child abuse prevention.
Day camps introduce children to the camp experience. The group of children often changes week to week, allowing attendees to make new friends and learn how to cooperate with others. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware offers Summer Fun Clubs for ages 5 to 13 that incorporate a wide range of activities like swimming, recreational and cultural experiences and field trips. Some Clubs offer STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programs. For parents looking for fun with a purpose, Hilary LaMotte Burke, director of marketing and communications, notes that the Clubs’ “Reading is Fundamental program has achieved award-winning success in combating the dreaded summer slide.”
With so many choices of day camps — either on one specific theme or with a combination of activities — parents and kids can mix and match to fill the summer months.
See overnight and specialty camps on page 2.