Questions to Consider When Selecting a Camp for Your Child

Questions to ask when choosing a summer camp
Photo by Izzy Park on Unsplash

It may be cold outdoors, but parents in our area are starting to plan for this year’s summer camp season. As you’re thinking about the best type of camp for your child, consider the following questions.

What to Ask Camp Staff for Day Camp

  • What’s the background and experience of the camp director?
  • What criteria do you consider for hiring staff? In other words, does the camp check for ages, experience levels and criminal history backgrounds?
  • What’s the ratio of staff to camp attendees? The American Camp Association‘s recommended ratios range from one staff member for every six campers ages 7 and 8 to one staff member for every 10 campers ages 9 to 14 to one for every 12 campers ages 15 to 17.
  • What’s the expertise level of staff at specialty camps such as music, art and drama? For example, a music camp should have professional music teachers who conduct activities for children.
  • What’s the cost? Find out about tuition and any other expenses. Inquire about the possibility for financial aid. Ask about refund policies.
  • What’s the condition and safety of equipment? How does the camp take steps to ensure campers’ safety? Find out what types of safety and security protocols are in effect.
  • How is medical care handled?
  • What’s the camp’s mission? Every camp should have a clear statement of its goals and an explanation of its programs that meet those goals.
  • What are the types of activities planned?
  • What does a typical day at camp look like?
  • What is the age range of the campers?
  • What are the camp’s hours?
  • What is camp transportation like?

What to Ask Camp Staff for Overnight Camp

In addition to the questions above, parents considering overnight camps for their children should also inquire about the following:

  • How available is the camp director outside regular business hours?
  • What type of overnight supervision is available?
  • How do camp staff handle children with homesickness?
  • What are the sleeping arrangements like? Does the camp provide electricity in the cabins? Are bathrooms available?

Taking the time to answer these questions can help you ensure you and your child make the best summer camp selection. To view camp offerings available in the D.C. area and beyond, browse our camp directory.

A version of this article was originally published by Baltimore’s Child, a sister publication of Washington FAMILY.

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About Michael Vyskocil

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