All youth like to go to summer camps of one kind or another. It is up to the parent(s) to make the best choice with input from the child. It’s important to learn about the camp and choose one carefully.
With the wide variety of overnight camps for kids available, there are numerous factors to consider when making this choice. Here are some thoughts about this very important decision.
To consider what you and your child want from camp, sit down together and talk about some simple questions. What are your expectations of the camp and what are the special interests your child might have?
Consider these factors:
Type of camp — The length of camp differs, depending on the type of program. When considering overnight camps, parents should always ask themselves: Is my child ready for an overnight experience?
Cost — Nonprofit camps are generally less expensive. Consider your family’s financial limitations. Be sure when calculating the cost that you include extras, supplies that will be needed to attend camp and transportation, not just the registration.
Size — In smaller camps, campers and staff get to know each other but in larger camps they get to know certain people within the camp structure. Think the type of environment your child would feel most comfortable in. Also, what life skills you would like your child to gain or improve from this experience.
Location — You need to decide how far you and your child feel comfortable in being apart. There are many excellent camps in many states.
Activities – There are all types of camps out there. Special interest camps will focus on one activity and educate your child in that activity. It’s also important to examine the quality of the staff and the camp’s facilities.
Once you have made your list based on the points above, sit down and start looking for camps available that meet those needs. From here, the best way to proceed with your comparison and to narrow your choices is to take a careful look at some of the promising camps you have identified. Next call and talk with the camp director(s). Have a list of more detailed questions about the camp, goals and philosophy, staff and the ratio, facilities, along with questions from the above-mentioned topics. You can never ask too many questions especially when you’re talking about your children and their enjoyment and safety. They may have questions about the camp, too.
You might ask for references of families who have had their child attend the camp. You might gain valuable insight about the camp.
4-H is a youth organization for youth K-12 that helps youth learn about certain items of interest to them, but also teaches them life skills. 4-H has a club structure with leaders who are adult volunteers with current background checks. To learn more about the local program, contact Marla Lowder, Tanana District 4-H agent, at (907)474-2427. You can also check out our web page at www.alaska4h.org/fairbankstanana-district.html. 4-H is a part of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Alaska Fairbanks