Children’s summer camps and wilderness programs for boys and girls in the United…

May 21, 2017

The Best Summer Camp in America (3) – Consider the Camp Program

This is the third article in a series of ten on Choosing the Best Summer Camp in America.

CP-bestsummercamp3When Choosing, Consider the Camp’s Program

What sort of experience are you looking for? There are high adventure camps, traditional ones with a wide range of activities, dance camps, skateboarding, football, computer, and the list goes on.

The length of the session can make a big difference in the effectiveness of a program. Short sessions (one or two weeks) are a great introduction for younger campers, six to nine years of age. Some kids are ready for longer sessions right away; others may need a few years. In general, longer sessions mean more skill development, bigger gains in confidence and independence, and development of deeper friendships.

Not all kids are cut out for camping; it just isn’t their “cup of tea.” If your child, however, is one of those who will probably love camp and want to attend summer after summer, find one that will grow with your child.

Options for Summer Programs

As you research your options, ask the management these questions about the camp program:

  • Activity choices
    • How are the activities chosen?
    • How many different activities may my child choose?
    • Are campers ever “closed out” of activities because all of the spaces fill?
  • Program Flexibility
    • Can activities change?
    • How often can the schedule change?
  • Purpose of activities?
    • Which activities include skill-building and progression, and which activities are strictly for fun?
    • If my child attends camp for several years, how does the program grow with her?
    • Are their leadership programs for older kids?

Follow these ten considerations, and you will find the best camp for your child:

  1. Family decision
  2. Consider the camp philosophy
  3. Consider the camp program
  4. Cost
  5. Location
  6. Camp size
  7. Camp staff
  8. Standards & accreditation
  9. References
  10. Facility

After you have thought about philosophy and program, you are ready to start making your “long list” of camps. is a helpful resource for a starting point to make your initial list of possibilities.