The Best Questions to Ask When Picking A Summer Camp for Your Kids

Kids playing outside during summer camp at the YMCA

It might not look like it outside, but it’s time to start thinking about summer camp—registration for many opens this month!

Whether your kids want to make friends, try something new such as building a lego robot or riding horses, or simply have a traditional summer camp experience, the sooner you start looking at options, the better.

Picking that perfect camp, though, can be overwhelming. What are you supposed to look for? What do your kids want to do? What’s most important to you and what can take a backseat? If you’re already stressed out, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here are some crucial things to do that will help ensure you find the right camp for your kids in the summer of 2018.

Which camp is right for your child?

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of different kinds of camps available today—and we don’t just mean day or overnight camp. There are traditional camps, adventure camps (think biking and backpacking), performing arts camps, equestrian camps, science camps and so many more! Choice is a good thing—just make sure that the camp you choose aligns with your child’s interests. If they’re athletically inclined, computer coding camp might not be the best place to send them! If they’re most comfortable around arts and crafts, see what’s available to stimulate their creative minds. If they like to be on the move, perhaps a sports camp is for them.

Bottom line: make sure they’re where they want to be. You probably already know your kids’ interests better than anyone so talk with them about the options and see what they’d like to do. In addition to traditional camps, the YMCA offers a slew of different camps including creative arts, sports, aquatics, gymnastics, theater, dance, tennis and much more. Check out all the options.

Who will be caring for your child?

Camp counselors are at the heart of your child’s camp experience—they can make or break it. A great camp will share its staff hiring and training process. Believe it or not, not all camps complete background checks on their counselors so asking if background checks are completed is always a good idea. Prior to hiring at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, background checks and child abuse clearances are completed on all camp counselors (as well as all employees). In addition, our counselors are certified in CPR and First Aid and complete a rigorous training process that includes 30-40 hours of training covering topics such as parent communication, lesson planning, safety and risk management, special needs and water safety.

What’s included in the camp cost? Is financial assistance offered?

For most, cost is a big factor in selecting a camp. Costs can range, but don’t assume that the most expensive camps are better than the others. Take the time to evaluate what each camp offers and ask what’s included in your fee. For example, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine offers before and after camp care at no additional cost to those enrolled in camp. Many camps, including ours, also offers discounts for siblings. Many also offer discounts if you register early (our early bird discount runs through February 28). And finally, as a non-profit organization, the YMCA is able to offer financial assistance to those unable to pay the standard fees. Simply ask your local branch for details if interested.

Learn more about summer camp offerings at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine.

See you this summer!