There’s nothing more fun than going away from home to camp for one week or several weeks, according to the type of camp.  My memories are of church camp, where we were only gone for a week.  There we met kids of our age group, and made many new friends, as well as learning things that (hopefully) made us turn out to be better individuals. 

Some families choose camps for their kids to attend every summer, maybe even for six weeks or more.  There are many things to consider if you’ve never sent your child away to camp.  We hope to have put together some ideas to help you investigate the camp you plan to send your child or children to.  There are many things to think about when choosing the camp that will be just right, such as, first, doing much planning.  If it’s the first time, it might be best to choose a camp that is not too far away from home, depending on the age of the youngster.  Be sure you visit a few camps before you decide.  Camps will have age-appropriate groups.

  • Check out the policies of the camp and make sure they are accredited by the American Camp Association, an organization that evaluates the safety standards, health programs, and operations of camps.  They support more than 2,200 camps.  The ACA is celebrating its’ 100th anniversary this year.
  • Find out about staff training and counselor orientation.  Camp counselors will be accompanying your youngsters each day.  You want to be sure that those who are supervising children have been properly screened and trained.
  • Learn about the camp’s discipline policies, as well as how emergencies are handled.
  • There are many camps that are specifically designed for special needs children, and are wonderful facilities that give them opportunities that they deserve to enjoy.
  • Another question to ask, what type of medical treatment is available for the minor camp injuries, as well as is there a written medical emergency policy approved by a physician?
  • Are there lifeguards on duty during swim time, and have the counselors and other staff members been trained in CPR?
  • Be sure that the particular camp that you are considering offers the types of things that are of interest to your youngster. 
  • Ask if there are outdoor excursions, what special protocols are observed; and if counselors bring communication devices.  Do they use the “buddy system”, and how do they prepare youngsters to be cautious of strangers?  Do they have a “lost camper” plan, and are parents required to sign a permission slip for these hikes, or outings?
  • As we suggested earlier, you might want to select one that is not too far away from home.  Remember, also, that during certain weather seasons, there are considerations to be given to things such as thunderstorms, or tornadoes in the area of the camp.
  • You will need to provide a copy of your child’s medical records, just in case of an emergency.
  • If your youngster has allergies, be sure you send those and other medications with him; also lots of sunscreen, insect repellent, and all the usual things one needs when being in the outdoors. 

All quality camps are going to be eager to answer any questions you have.  After all, it is your youngster that they are going to be responsible for, and they want to know that your child is going to come home with some great stories of summer camp, and eager to return next year.

There are no wrong questions to ask when it comes to safety.  Camping is a great life-learning experience and provides an unforgettable adventure for your child.