Looking for a summer camp for your child can be stressful. The decision takes time, patience and an understanding of what you’re looking for in a program for your child. When choosing a summer camp, consider the following:

1. What do you need?

Figure out what you need. Make a list of what’s most important. Some things to consider are:

– What are the hours?

– How far is it from your home or work? 

– How much does it cost? 

– Does your child have any special needs that the program will need to accommodate?

2. Staff credentials and supervision

Ask about the qualifications of the camp director and counselors, and how campers will be supervised. Also ask about the camp’s staff and supervision procedures, including discipline policies. Do these meet your expectations?

3. Health

Find out when will parents be notified if your child becomes ill or injured, if there is a doctor or nurse in residence or on call for campers at all times, and if the camp requires medical records for all campers. Be sure to detail your child’s history of immunization, illness, disability or allergy. Specify special diets and activity restrictions. And provide instruction for any medication your child must take.

4. Camp safety

Are the camp facilities and activities safe? Are there periodic fire drills for both campers and staff? Does each floor of every building have fire exits in two different locations? Are flammable materials (gasoline, pool chemicals, etc.) stored away from activity centers and kept under lock and key? Are functioning smoke detectors located in every sleeping room?

5. Sports and Activities

How are sports and activities supervised? Find out if water activities are supervised by an experienced certified lifeguard or water safety instructor. 

6. Nutrition

Do you have to send food for your child going to a day camp? Does the camp serve food your child likes? Does your child have a special diet or food allergies?