10 Qualities of The Perfect Summer Camp
Posted: July 05, 2019
Summer camps are a great opportunity for your child to learn new things, form new friendships, and grow this summer. When choosing summer camps, it’s easy to treat them as a simple day care service. You may merely look for the least expensive camp instead of researching them ahead of time.
Here are our Top 10 Qualities to look for in the perfect summer camp for your child.
1) Practicing Social Skills: Summer is one of the best times for children to increase their social skills and emotional intelligence (EQ). These “soft skills” are getting lost in our society as we move towards stricter structured learning environments and communicate more and more through the digital world. Summer camps that recognize the value and foster the development of these skills are worth a great amount to families.
Look for camps that prioritize meaningful social activities. These would include: daily buddy systems, time to connect and share, allowing kids to practice good manners along with listening skills, and, above all, rewarding children who are showing compassion and serving others.
2) Fun Learning: Camps that bring in daily learning activities rate high on our list. Active learning environments are another way to supplement your child’s education without them even knowing it.
Look for camps that emphasize having fun and learning. The right combination of both will help your child have an exciting and valuable summer.
3) Connecting to Nature: Blue skies, fresh air, and dirt help all of us feel more alive and enjoy our human experience. Some children will enjoy being outside more than others. Scientists tell us that outdoor exercise reduces stress and increases general health.
Look for camps that include time spent outdoors. Feel free to ask your camp director how much outside play time will be included in the summer camp.
4) Exploring New Interests: As parents, we get to look for opportunities for our children to experience different cultures, explore new hobbies, discover the arts, and hopefully, discover a passion while they are still young. Exposure to a variety of these things is priceless to our children.
Look for a summer camp where the directors are mindful of these discoveries and allow opportunities for our children to experience them. If your child already has a particular interest, finding a related camp is a great way to support your child in diving deeper into that passion.
5) Connecting to Community: Finding local guest speakers, field trips, and service projects is possible. Summer camps that introduce children to different aspects of the community can form connections that will last long after summer is over.
Look for a summer camp that maximizes the opportunities from their leaders in their communities and allows campers to interact with these local treasures.
6) Growing Physical Skills: All year long, your child has been focusing almost exclusively on academics. However, children benefit greatly from learning and growing in other areas as well. Summer camps are a great time to focus on advanced physical skills like coordination, strength, and flexibility.
Look for camps that dedicate time to playing ball, swimming, and trying new sports. These activities are extremely valuable for your child’s development.
7) Small student-counselor ratios: Smaller camps with smaller camper to counselors ratios will provide more supervision for your child. This allows more opportunities for them to form friendships with great counselors/role models. Keeping our children safe and having an advocate that you can talk to about your children's social progress through the summer is worth the little extra money.
Look for camps with a smaller student/counselor ratio. A ratio of 10-12 students per counselor is a real gem to find. Don’t hesitate to ask what this ratio is.
8) Early and late pick up: With a fun and well organized summer camp, your child will think the time is flying by and hopefully, jump out of bed for the next day of camp. Camps that co-inside with the family schedule is another aspect to not overlook.
Look for camps with dropoff and pickup options that compliment your own summer schedule. If you’d prefer different timing, it doesn’t hurt to ask. They may already have procedures in place for different family circumstances.
9) Safe environments: Don’t be afraid to ask for the credentials of the camp leaders. Have they had background checks? Are they CPR certified? What is the plan in case of an emergency? What is the check-in and check-out system?
Look for camps that are open and up front about their credentials, policies on the drop off/pick ups, and emergency procedures. Go ahead and ask the questions about the things that might worry you. Don’t leave it to chance.
10) Balanced Schedule: The right balance between your child’s personality and interest is crucial. Is your child an introvert or extrovert? Will the pace, environment, and activities of the camp give them the right balance for maximum growth? Will they be stretched without being stressed?
Look for camps that will give you a daily schedule so you know what your child can expect. (This will also keep you in the know regarding where and what they will be doing.) Summer camps are an investment in your child's life, so all these things matter.
If you live close to a Leaders for Life Martial Arts academy or one of the Raising Leaders for Life affiliates, don't hesitate to call them about their summer camp schedules. Here is a direct link: