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

August 20, 2015

How Parents and Kids can Choose a Summer Camp Together

468740hagx4reppThe decision to send your children to summer camp isn’t always an easy one. Even after they’ve decided on a space camp, do you send them to an overnight camp or a day camp? How do you find a program within your price range or in a certain geographic region? And then, how can you know that this institution is accredited and safe and won’t serve your kids inedible glop or send them to the moon without adult supervision? Do you and your kids have the same priorities in these deciding factors? Researching summer camps doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds – search filters helps your family decide based on different criteria (such as location and programming) so that you and your kids can enjoy exploring all space camp options (or any other camp for that matter) around the country – and even internationally!

What kind of camp do you want?

Before sending your kids off to summer camp, one great exercise might be to set some goals for what they want to get out of their experience. This could also help narrow down what sort of programming they might be interested in – spiritual or academic or outdoorsy; residential or day camp; split gender or co-ed, etc. Here are a couple of questions for your kids to start the discussion:

  • What sort of social environment do you want?
  • What sort of activities do you want and how much variety do you want in those activities?
  • Do you want to be a part of a team or have more independent time?
  • Do you want free time or more structured focus on one activity?
  • Are there any specific skills or areas of knowledge that you want to gain from the camp?
  • Do you want to spend more time inside or outside?
  • Are there any geographic opportunities or limitations to consider?

Once you have the basic framework of what kind of camp you’re looking for, you can start to narrow down your search among the dozens of directory listings to find the optimal program.

How and when to start searching for summer camp:

Many popular camps fill up quickly and recruiting can start as early as September. Advanced planning gives you a head start and relieves stress during the weeks leading up to school break. Furthermore, many camps offer early bird discounts that give your child access to some of the top notch programs at affordable rates. (Just be sure to read and understand the cancellation policy when you plan this far in advance.)

If you can’t visit a camp in session, the next best option is to link up with representatives who often tour the country or region to advertise the camp at events and schools. You can contact the admissions representative to set up a meeting during one of these sessions. If an in person meeting isn’t possible, either, you can always ask for the contact information of other families whose children have attended in years’ past to have a conversation about their experiences. And of course, all of these connections start with, which offers the virtual scoop on all of its camps.