One thing I never anticipated as a parent was the need to plan so much, and so far ahead. Maybe I don’t like to think about it because the kids are getting bigger so quickly and the years are flying by! One thing I know now, is that once the new year begins, it is already time to start thinking about summer camps. Sure, summer is still four months away… but spots fill up quickly and you need to reserve a spot in the most coveted camps.
We are big fans of summer camps – they are great opportunities to get out of the structure of school, make new friends, and experience new things. There might be a little nervousness, but this can be a great thing to help our little ones get out of their shell a bit and experience more of the world. It can be a chance to dive deeper into an interest that already exists. Or it can be a chance to discover a new hobby. New settings or surroundings can have great benefits on children!
But how do you know which camp is right? Keep in mind there are summer camps for just about any topic and interest. That can be a little daunting, especially if your child doesn’t show a specific interest- or has too many interests! We’ve gathered a few lessons we learned after doing some research online to make the process as successful as possible:
- Hype it Up! – Start by getting you child excited about the thought of going to summer camp. Then, you can use this hype to discover the kids of things you child might enjoy or experiences they need during the summer. Maybe your son or daughter loves soccer and you have an easy decision to make. But if not, think about what they might need, or what you want to nurture.
- Decide on Type of Camp – A traditional camp is what you might think of from your childhood, like Salute Your Shorts or Bunk’d. However, there are many more types of camps out there to choose from nowadays. There are academic camps that focus on subjects schools generally don’t have time to explore in depth; which is great to help nurture those interests! There are art camps, religious camps, sports camps, leadership, and even adventure camps. One thing to consider here is if you are going to do an overnight camp or day camp. Even though our daughter wants to go away to an overnight camp, I think we are still a year or two away from that!
- Location – When I was young, I was sure I was going to be a professional basketball player. One of the coolest things I did for camp one year was go to a basketball camp on a college campus. We stayed in the dorms and ate our meals in the cafeteria, just like college players did. It was way better than a normal basketball camp because I was in an environment that nurtured my dream (I still hope to make it in the NBA one day). Consider the location and environment of the camp because it can really elevate the experience.
- Do your Homework – Once you choose a camp, look at it’s history, reviews, and even social media presence online. Do they have a mission statement or philosophy? Are there prerequisites you need to prepare for? Will your child know anyone else attending the camp? What is the student to staff ratio? What is the application process and cost/fees?
And did you know, Lake Forrest Prep has a summer camp for rising 1st through 5th graders? With several weekly field trips, themed weeks, and the fantastic staff we’ve come to know so well – we know our daughter will have a fantastic summer camp experience. There’s room for you too at Lake Forrest’s Star Camp!