Every year, the American Camp Association, New England, fields phone calls and e-mails from families looking for advice on finding a camp. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for this, but there are some universal tips to help start a smooth, camp-seeking experience.
Start early, start in New England
So many factors impact sending a child to camp. That’s why ACA, New England, recommends starting the camp search as early as possible. In October, summer can feel like forever away. However, many camps will open enrollment or registration for their summer programs during the preceding autumn.
Those that don’t open registration until later will still publish information for the upcoming summer around this time. Hundreds of camps are nestled among the lakes, forests, beaches, mountains, and cities of New England.
It is the original home of youth camping, and New England offers a variety of day, overnight, one-week, 4-week, 8-week, co-ed, all-girls, all-boys, traditional and specialty camps. While everyone can’t go to every camp, there is a camp for everyone in New England.
There is a wealth of resources to help families collect information and decide which camp is right for their child. Gather the nuts and bolts: dates, cost (tuition/fees), location, programs, session length, etc. Most camps provide this information on their websites. To help start your list, The American Camp Association hosts a Find a Camp tool that can help filter the search.
Look for an accredited camp
The American Camp Association, New England, accredits more than 350 camps. From hiring and programming, to health, safety and transportation, an ACA accredited camp voluntarily undergoes a thorough peer review of its operations. When scouting camps, look for the ACA Accredited Camp logo on the organization’s website and other materials. For more information on ACA Accreditation, visit acanewengland.org or contact ACA New England.
Talk to the camps
Camp directors love to talk camp, and they especially love to talk with folks about their camp. Whether by phone, e-mail, at camp on a tour or at a camp fair, prepare questions to help you figure out if this is the camp for your child and family. Ask about the culture of the camp. Ask questions surrounding topics such as programming philosophy, competition, discipline, staff, transportation and overall camp experience to ensure this camp aligns with your values and expectations at home.
Sending a child to camp is a big decision, and it deserves the time and consideration to match its importance. By starting early and doing due diligence, families give their campers a head start on a successful summer.
Provided by the American Camp Association, New England, a 501 (c) 3 organization that serves families and camps as the hub for “all things summer camp” in New England. Visit www.acanewengland.org or call (781) 541-6080.