Summer Camp, Start Planning Now

With last week’s snowfall, sledding, snowshoeing and skiing still fresh in my mind, it might seem strange to be thinking about kid’s summer camp options but that is the topic this month.  Summer may seem like an eternity of rainy Oregon days from now but the reality is in 4 short months your children will be out of school.  Scrambling at the last minute for a slot to your child’s camp of choice is not ideal. With a little preplanning and Internet sleuthing you can quickly narrow down the field of available camps and find the perfect summer experience for your child.

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A couple of things to keep in mind regarding summer camp searches:

  • What is the time frame and does your work or volunteer schedule fit within these parameters?  Why add additional stress to your summer if the start or end time of the camp doesn’t fit into the rest of your schedule.
  • Does the camp have weekly options, day drop-ins, how flexible is the camp schedule? No since signing up for a camp that interferes with your vacation plans, family reunion or summer birthday celebrations.
  • Is the camp a good fit for your child?  The camp might have a great reputation and curriculum but does it fit with your child’s personality? Will this experience be beneficial to your child or cause emotional stress that inadvertently causes more harm than good to your little camper?  Is the camp focus one that will challenge their imagination, creativity and be fun?
  • What is the ratio of instructor to student?  This is critical for a safe and fun experience for your child?  What is the background and direct supervision format of the camp director and the individual teaching your child?  Talk to other parents with direct knowledge of the camp if you are able.
  • We all want our children to make new friends at camp, share experiences and have a great time. If your child is open to new experiences, confident and willing to “jump in” to new experiences without their parents or close peers involved, you are lucky and camp will be amazing for your child. If that didn’t conjure up an image of your child, than the best way to insure camp success is pairing your child up with a close friend. This at least gets them excited about the possibilities of camp, on the bus or out of your car.  You are paying your hard earned money for summer camp and the last thing you need is a daily argument about going.  The friend pairing is the key.  Chances are they will also make new friendships at camp too, but if you have your doubts trust me on the friend pairing.
  • Lastly, remember that camp is for your child enjoyment but also your sanity. It is amazing the level of stress the following sentence can have on a parent, ”I’m bored”.  How soon after summer vacation begins do you hear that whiny sentence? A week, maybe two if you are lucky. Summer camp gives you both something to look forward to and an experience to share at the end of camp everyday.

 

For a list of camps check out the following URL’s, it’s a few lists that might help begin your search.  The rest of the homework on the camp is up to you, but set that snow shovel aside and start looking now. Four months and counting…

 

http://www.pdxkidscalendar.com/portland-summer-camps-guide/

http://autism.about.com/od/schoolandsummer/tp/camplistings.htm

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/outreach/occyshn/families-youth/upload/Camps_2012.pdf

 

 

 

 

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