Preparing for Summer Camp 2012

Dec 02, 2011
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Planning Ahead

While we are just putting away the Thanksgiving decorations, it is already time to start planing ahead for a summer of outdoor fun. CAMP 2012!

Why children need a camping experience

Camp is a childhood rite of passage. It allows children of all abilities and interests to challenge themselves, learn how to gear up and accomplish a difficult tasks through sheer grit, and personally experience independence and risk-taking in a safe environment.

Most children don’t live outdoors all year, so they would otherwise miss out on the experience of sitting by the crackling campfire while the sun sets, finding their way into a sleeping bag in the dark aided by their dim and wobbling flashlight, sleeping outdoors in a tent, or a rustic cabin, and awakening to the birdsong of very early morning. Camp is an experiential outdoor education that helps children develop independence, group camraderie, bravery, a sense of membership and shared interdependence, and to develop a firsthand knowledge of plant and animal life.

How to get started

There are many different types of camps that will give campers experiences in a wide array of areas. Some camps focus on water sports, others on horse-back riding, and still others on leadership development. You will need to review a listing of camp types and reflect on the type of experience that would be the most productive and enjoyable for your camper, this year.  You will want to find several interesting camps and request their brochures now, so that you have plenty of time to compare camps, discuss the camp with your child, speak with camp representatives, and select just the right one for this coming summer.

What to look for in a camp

Decisions about the choice of camp may depend upon how the camp is designed and operated, as well as what types of experiences the camp offers.

You may want to delve into the following areas during the decision-making process:

Facilities: the property, buildings and transportation, showering/toileting, dietary, food service

Staff: staff hiring, staff training, staff supervision, staff knowledge and experience

Camp philosophy: managing behavior, dispensing medications, accommodating cultural or religious beliefs, monitoring the interactions of campers, monitoring individual camper experiences.

Programming: finding which activities are offered by the camp; and whether all activiites are required or are individually selected?

Inclusive Camp vs. Disability Specific Camp: would you like to have your child attend a camp with children who have the same challenges or a camp that is inclusive of all children? Would you like your child to go to a day camp, a one week camp or a two week camp? (Decisions, decisions!)

There is a lot to consider when planning a summer camp experience. Starting early and reaching out to multiple sources for information is the key to designing a rewarding camping experience.

Where to find more information:

Discover Camp: Considerations for sending your child with a disability to camp. A publication of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD)

National Center on Accessibility (NCA):

Camp Listings:

The American Camp Association


Author: Tanya