Many families, in researching camps, look at what activities a camp offers and don't think enough about what sort of growth experience their child can have at camp. Instead of choosing a camp where their child's friend goes, or the camp that they attended as a child, parents should explore the numerous quality camps available for children. As a camp director at Maine Arts Camp, we have found that campers who come to camp without a friend often have a more positive experience. Sometimes two or more friends come to camp and integrate into the full camp community, but often campers miss out on creating new friendships. In choosing a camp, parents can talk to their friends, especially if their children have similar interests, but should also ask how the other parent chose their child's camp. Talking to referral services can also be helpful. A service such as Camp Finders has visited a large number of camps and have a basis of comparison in analyzing what each camp offers. Usually, such services are free to parents, with camps paying a commission to the services. Parents should look for a service that will try to learn about their child and contact a select number of camps that could be a good fit. After narrowing down the choices to a couple of camps, talking with the camp directors and then references are a good way to go. The camp experience can be so positive for children and taking a little time to research camps is certainly worth it. Some things to think about in choosing a camp... What is the philosophy of the camp? How are the activities scheduled (by bunk or individually). What is the size of the camp? What percent of campers attend sessions of various lengths? How does the camp integrate new campers into their community? What type of community does the camp try to create? After getting answers to questions like these, a parent can see what camps are a good match for their values and their child's interests.
owner of Camp Finders and MySummers
owner/director of Maine Arts Camp