This is a guest post from Kevin Hahn, Youth Programming Manager, Community Education.
It’s the time of year for parents and guardians where the end of the school year is clearly in sight. There is an excitement that accompanies that feeling, but that excitement can quickly change to panic and stress: “the end of the school year is coming, and what are we going to do with the kids!” The feeling is normal; take a deep breath and think about your needs for the summer. If those needs include a summer camp experience, there are many choices: day camp, overnight camp, weeks offered, the programs offered, and more. The options can be overwhelming, but following a few tips can make the experience rewarding for the whole family.
Involve the Kids
Seems simple, right? You would be surprised by the number of kids who are signed up for camps that they have zero interest in attending. The best way to avoid an unhappy child at camp is to involve them from the beginning of the process. Talk together about different camps, their present opportunities, and what the child would like to learn and experience during the summer. If the camp has a summer catalog, request it to be added to the mailing list, and when it arrives, hand it to the child and have them identify the camps that interest them. That creates a great sense of ownership and pride in knowing they can help determine what their summer will entail. You are already making positive strides toward a rewarding experience, and the summer has not even begun.
Determine Interests and Opportunities
Do you like a camp where the activities are decided at the start of each day, or a camp with specific programs on a singular topic such as drama, sewing, or sports? For example, does your child like sports and, in addition, would like to learn how to program a drone and cook a five-course meal? Would you like them to attend for a week or two, or does a camp that operates every weekday over the entire summer fit your schedule better? The camp structure is an important measurable in determining if a camp will meet your needs as a guardian and allow the child to be in an environment that suits them best.
You have discussed summer camps as a family, shared interests, and discussed the benefits of each kind of format available. Now what? Well, it’s time to start asking questions. Do you have a camp you’re favoring over others? Do you know anyone that has attended their programs? Talk with them, visit the organization’s social media pages, and reach out to staff in advance to listen and have all your questions answered before you sign–up.
Following these important tips will help make a fun-filled stress-free summer for the whole family.
Are you interested in camps at Harper College this summer?
Check out our InZone Enrichment and Sports Camps for ages 6-14, with hundreds of camps offered from June 6-August 12. Programs are available on campus and online. For more information, visit harpercollege.edu/inzone