The snow is falling and it's still cold but, believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about choosing a summer camp experience for your child. But before you pull up the Google search page there's something else you should do: sit down and talk to your child.
When choosing a summer camp it's important to know where your child wants to go to camp and what they want to get out of the experience. Maybe they aren't concerned about which camp they go to. They just want to be with their best friend. Maybe they're passionate about a sport or interest and want to go to a specialty camp where they can learn specific skills. Maybe they're interested in overnight camping but don't want to commit to a week or more away from home. Perhaps they want to try lots of different kinds of camp activities from summer classics like swimming and crafts to more adventurous kinds of things like a ropes course or rock climbing.
The second thing you should do is ask yourself what you want most for your child when it comes to a summer camp experience. Safety is probably one of the first things parents are concerned about. Ask some questions such as: Does the camp have a good reputation? Is the staff well-trained? What is the camper-staff ratio? You may want to talk to your relatives, friends and neighbors. Where did their children go to camp last summer? What was their experience like?
Beyond safety, most parents want their children to have a great time. Camp memories are often our strongest and most loved when we adults look back on our own summer experiences - the smell of wood smoke, the sweet taste of burnt marshmallow, whispering in the tent after lights out, learning to paddle a canoe, swim across the pool, hike a mile and many more.
Camp is more than just summer day care for children when parents are working. It offers opportunities for healthy, active outdoor fun and learning. It offers the chance to make new friends, strengthen old friendships and to be an active contributing member of a community. As our world grows ever more complex we need young people to care about the environment, to care about their community and to care about each other. Camp can help them learn to do just that.
Visit the Wisconsin Youth Company website to learn about AFTER SCHOOL Summer Day Camp, Wander Wisconsin trip and travel camps, circus, language and outdoor immersion camps and Middle School U, summer courses for middle school youth.
This story is written and presented by Wisconsin Youth Company, which provides quality before- and after-school care, summer day-camp and travel camp experiences and family travel adventures. WYC exists so that the children of Wisconsin benefit from communities that nurture them at a sustainable cost.