Do initial camp research before scheduling tours. Think about the camp experience you want for your child and what type of environment would be best for his or her needs. Check out a camp’s website, social media, and video to get a feel for the program. This will be a good way to initially sort through the many choices and narrow down camps to a short list. Remember to not only think about your child’s first summer but all subsequent years at camp as well.
Don’t know where to start your search? Visit a camp fair or call Renee Flax at the American Camp Association, NY and NJ (acanynj.org) for free, one-on-one advice in determining which camps might be right for your child at (212) 391-5208.
Once you have your short list, have a phone call with the camp director. You want to feel comfortable with the leadership when choosing a camp and it’s better to find out if you click with the director before visiting the camp.
Involve your child with the search once you have a short list of camps that you like. The more involved a child feels in the decision making, the more successful the camp experience will be.
Don’t just tour camps that your child’s friends attend. Try to choose at least 1-2 that are outside of your child’s social circle and based on your own research. A camp that is the right fit for one child isn’t necessarily the right one for yours.
Schedule tours with no more than four camps. More than four tours will only confuse you and your child. Two tours per day should be the maximum.
When possible, schedule a tour for the summer before you want your child to attend. Seeing a camp in action gives you a good feeling about the camp’s culture and program.
Use the tour to ask questions about the camp’s philosophy, campers, staff, and facilities.
Can’t fit touring into your schedule? Don’t worry. There are other ways to get learn about a camp program such as home visits, camp fairs, and camp open houses.