Simply Extraordinary: Choosing the Right Summer Camp

Tips on Choosing the Right Summer Camp

Many experts, families and former campers see camps and their lifelong benefits - be they physical, social, emotional, or educational - as excellent ways for children to make the most of their summer.

RELATED: How To Create an Affordable and Memorable Camp Experience For Your Kids

Here are some tips on how to choose the best camp for your child:

1. Choose a type of camp

The choices in the type of camp go far beyond day vs. overnight. Traditional camps offer the quintessential camp experience, while specialized camps range from sports, to arts, to religion, to special needs. Family camps are also becoming a popular option to strengthen family bonds. Each different type of camp provides different skills and qualities.

2. Create a wish list

Parents and children should discuss their camp options together to come up with a wish list for priority location, activities, amenities, and budget. An Internet search should follow, which will provide a number of potential camps.

3. Talk to the camps

A crucial step is talking to camp directors about their specific philosophies, programs and policies. This can be done over the phone, through email, or in person at a camp visit or at a camp expo.

Some important questions to ask camp directors are:

  • What are the camps goals?
  • What is the schedule?
  • What is the camp’s staff-to-camper ratio?
  • What kind of staff training is provided?
  • What percentage of campers and staff return?
  • What medical facilities are available?
  • What kind of transportation is available?
  • What is the food like, how is it prepared, and does the camp accommodate campers with allergies?
  • What is the policy about packages, letters, and calls from home?
  • How does the camp deal with individual needs and differences, homesickness or bullying?
  • What kind of financial aid is available?

4. Talk to other families and campers

Some camps may be able to connect you to current families and campers who will be valuable resources for first-hand information. They can provide another perspective on the camp, its staff, activities, amenities and general attitude. This is also a great chance to involve the kids in the process, as they can chat with other children to get to know their future campmates.

Carly Maga is the Communications Manager at Our Kids Media, which publishes the annual magazines Our Kids Go To Camp and Our Kids Go To School, powers the search engines on and, and created the Private School and Camp Locator applications, available for free download at