I have been talking with parents about appropriate sleepaway camp options for almost 20 years now. These conversations have been quite educational. Parents who have attended camp have a clear idea of what they're looking for, although they are often trying to recreate their camp experience (if it was a good one). For these experienced camp parents, if they went to a coed camp, they often look at coed camps. Parents looking for a single sex camp often attended such a camp as a child or teen. On the other hand, one parent may not have gone to camp, so isn't so sure about why their child can benefit from being away from home. We are all products of our environment, our life experience, and our choices are often reflective of such.
So, if you as a parent have never gone to a sleepaway camp, think about the first time you were away from home for an extended time. Perhaps it was college. How did you adjust? Would it have been easier if you had experienced an away camp, even for a few weeks? Campers grow, gain independence, learn to live with others, learn to ask for help from young adults they can relate to (often different than their parents), learn new skills and improve existing skills, and much more. Talk to people who have been to sleepaway camp and they have usually made life long friendships and truly believe in the magic of camp.
Finding the right camp is the difficult task. Does your child or teen do better in a smaller, more individualized environment or do they thrive around many kids? Is a competitive sports camp the place for your child or an arts camp? Or, is a general camp that offers a wide variety of programs the right place? What is the underlying philosophy of the camp and the values that it supports? How old and experienced are the staff? Are they invested in working with campers, while also having a strong skill set in certain activities? What is the communication policy of the camp? Is it geared to the best interests of the campers or the potentials fears and demands of parents?
If you're interested in talking finding the right camp, contact Camp Finders. I have been talking with parents about the questions above and many more. I have also visited all of the camps that I recommend and continue to receive good evaluations from families about these camps every year. Besides running Camp Finders, I'm also the owner and director of Maine Arts Camp, which has further enhanced my years and experience in the camp industry.
I look forward to hearing from you about the life changing experience that camp can be!
Owner of Camp Finders & MySummers (a staffing site for camps)