Choosing Your Child's Camp

In today’s society, our options and choices – even regarding the smallest thing – keep expanding. We’re faced with the options of what movie to go see, where we should go for lunch, even what kind of peanut butter we should buy! There’s an ever-increasing variety of choices we’re presented with in daily decisions. Camp is no exception! It can be overwhelming to look at the number of camping options available and try to sift through them to find a camp that would be a good fit for your child.

When starting out, first check into the safety procedures & qualifications of the camp. Any camp can create fun, but if the fun doesn’t take place in an atmosphere of respect and safety, that fun can quickly turn to danger. We think choosing a camp should be a great experience in itself, so we’ve put together some valuable questions that can assist you in narrowing down your options, and help you feel good about your choice of an enjoyable camp experience for your child. Tailor your questions to what’s important to you and your family, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a great camping experience for your child!

1. What kind of safety polices & procedures does the camp have in place?

Find out about swimming safety procedures, what happens in the case of a medical emergency, and how many staff are trained in CPR and EFA.

2. How are the camp staff chosen and screened?

Each camp should be able to relate the staff application & training process. Remember, sometimes the safest places can lack a culture of genuine care for a child. While safety is vitally important, you want to send your child to a camp that has a track record of both trained and caring staff.

Next, ask some foundational questions – The purpose and heart behind the safety procedures are as important as the procedures themselves!

3. What is the camp’s philosophy and purpose statement?

The heart of a camp can be communicated in its goals – Find out what the camp hopes the campers will experience during a week in their care.

4. Why did the camp director choose to be a camp director?

Often, the whole culture of a camp is determined by the values and priorities of the camp director. Find out what those values and priorities look like.

Set aside some time to both do some of your own ‘fieldwork’ and talk with your child about their camp expectations.

5. Are there parent references available who you could speak with about their child’s experience at this specific camp?

Some camps will have these available upon request, or you can do some cross-referencing of your own and discover the experiences those in your own community and circles may have had at a particular camp.

6. What does my child enjoy doing?

Some camps offer specialty activities or specific skills tailored to different interests children may have. If you can find a camp that presents activity choices your child is excited about, that’s an added bonus to the safety and genuine caring you want to make sure they receive.

7. What is my child expecting from a week of camp?

Talk to your child about their expectations of camp – you may be surprised at what they’re looking forward to! For example, they may place more importance on going camping the same week as their friends, instead of choosing to take part in a week with a certain activity being offered. Being on the same page with your child can avoid a camping choice you may both regret afterwards.

You’re off to a great start on giving your child the gift of a wonderful summer camping experience. Congratulations! If you’d like more information on choosing a great camp for your child, check out our choice of camps across Canada at One Hope Canada – Have a great summer!