Would it be unfair of me to think of summer camp as a limited-run but incredibly elaborate production? Like summer stock of the highest order? As I write this note, all over the country dedicated and talented camp owners and directors are planning big productions, making sure the staffing, facilities, and programming are all in place for your children. Then the production goes “live” for eight incredible weeks, and they have campers to engage and take care of, campers who are pining for an experience that’s fun and memorable—the time of their young lives.
As the Editor of New York Family for about seven years, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who work with children, introducing kids to music, sports, arts, education, math and science, cooking, photography, culture, writing, crafting—you name it. Those who work at summer camps are usually generous, kid-savvy people who were smitten by summer camp when they were young and are now paying it forward.
I know that many of our readers went to summer camp too, and I know that there are many of you who didn’t. Our annual Ultimate Guide should be helpful either way. It offers two kinds of stories: articles on finding the right camp and preparing your child for the summer and articles on the camp experience itself.
Let’s start with the first kind: While you absolutely should read our story on the 10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Summer Camp, we have excellent related stories on whether friends from home should attend the same program as well as how long a camp experience should run.
If you want to really understand what all the fuss is about, you’ll check out stories like the one about camps that are bringing campers back to basics and also the wonderful remembrance of a young woman who spent many of her formative summers at camp, first as a camper and later as a counselor.
From what I can tell, my daughter is on that same program—and it feels like one of the greatest gifts I’ve been able to give her.
Good luck in your camp searches.
Three Great Summer Camp Research Essentials
The American Camp Association, New York & New Jersey: Don’t let their name fool you. While they’re here for local parents, they help families discover the best camp for their children anywhere they want to go, whether it’s to a nearby day camp or a summer camp in Maine. A good starting point is to visit their website (aca-nynj.org) and use ACA’S camp search directory known as The Camp Wizard. Likewise, they have a camp placement specialist, Renee Flax, who is available for free one-on-one consultations to start or better define your search. Contact her at 212.391.5208, 800.777.CAMP, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camp Fairs: What’s wonderful about the joint Camp Fair series between New York Family and the American Camp Association, New York & New Jersey is that it gives parents (and children) a free and convenient way to meet the representatives (and often the camp directors themselves) of 40-50 day and sleepaway camps. At the very least, a Camp Fair will broaden your sense of the possibilities out there. Better yet, you may discover the camp of your child’s dreams. For more info about the Camp Fairs, with dates and locations, visit newyorkfamilycamps.com.
The Right Camp: To help families and camps connect, New York Family launched therightcamp.com, a one-stop resource for families seeking the ideal summer camp for their children. Based on the success of our popular Camp Fairs, we have created an online resource where families can now attend a year-round “virtual” camp fair. At therightcamp.com, families simply check off their preferences (from sleepaway to day camps, location to special activities, facilities to food) and generate a list of camps that meet their criteria. Then they are able to see a full page of detailed info about their selected camps—including photos, videos, activities, amenities, testimonials, Facebook page links and contact information. Visit therightcamp.com for more.