If you are like my family this time of year, it brings on a discussion of summer activities and certainly summer camps. This has changed dramatically since I was a kid, as now you can send your child to an incredible array camps. It is important to include your child in the discussion of the selection of a camp with respect to the interest and goals of your child and your family. There are many questions to ask yourself and your child.
- What special interests does your child have?
- Is there an area that they may need to learn or experience?
- Do you want them to focus on a certain area, sports, church camp,a hobby, or a club that they are already involved?
- Do you need to keep in mind any limitations that your child may have? They may not like to spend the night away from home yet.
- Should a friend go with them to the camp? This can make the transition easier if they already have a connection at the camp.
- How long has the director run this camp and what is his or her experience level?
- What kind of camper is most likely to have a good experience at this camp?
- Is it a very structured program or one that provides free time and choice among activities?
- What is the camper-counselor ratio ?
- How many campers return each year?
Certainly consider the type of camp with respect to level of activities, availability of housing, (is it a tent or a cabin with air conditioning?), and is it coed? And, of course, the cost of camp could impact your decision.
Remember that you are the parent and ultimately will make the decision, but your child has to have fun.
Gregory Sweat, MD, is the Medical Director of the Shawnee Mission Physicians Group and practices Family Medicine at Shawnee Mission Primary Care - Prairie View Medical Building.