What are the most important qualities to look for when choosing a summer camp for a 10 year-old?

Answers

Barbara Spalding, Parent Resource & Coach for Education

User avatar for Barbara Spalding

"Camp" has come to mean so many things these days. Week-long, summer-long or overnight camp... first thing is to decide your purpose. Is this a means of childcare arrangements for the summer? Among my questions for this type of scenario is whether children are interacting and grouped with peers versus a variety of ages intermingling for extended periods of the day. Is your primary intent to focus on a specialty or interest (computer programing, sports, etc) or are you seeking an opportunity to further develop your child academically? Camps that are designed for specific specialties offer a concentrated amount of time building a particular skill or series of skills. This can be quite beneficial, as well as, rewarding should your child really enjoy the focal theme of the camp. Personally, I would look for a camp that not only specialized in my child's chosen activity but also offered a couple of secondary options for the sake of variety. Perhaps your intention is simply based on offering your child an opportunity for trying new things, making friends and building independence/confidence. Camp is a wonderful avenue for such and again, I would look for those facilities that offer a wide variety of activities.

Once you outline your initial intention regarding summer camp, then it is time to do some research to see what is offered. I would highly encourage that you involve your child or at least offer several options after vetting location/logistics, costs, reviews, etc. Having buy-in from your child will certainly help to ensure the experience is a positive one.

Amy McElroy, Former Attorney, Writer, Editor, parent of a junior high and high school student

User avatar for Amy McElroy

It's important to think about your child's specific personality and where you think they will thrive, regardless of whether it's a day or residential camp. While it's important to expand their horizons with opportunities to learn new things and meet new people, your child needs a hook to be excited and interested in attending the camp, especially if they are introverted or anxious about it. Find a camp that includes activities in which your child has already shown an interest or wants to explore. Whether that's swimming, archery, cooking, boating, science--there is a camp for every child's interest. The rest will most likely fall into place because your child will meet others with similar interests and explore other areas with the support of peers and staff. Let your child's interests be the primary guide as you begin your search for the right camp. Good luck!

Jennifer Oleniczak, Founder and Artistic Director of The Engaging Educator

User avatar for Jennifer Oleniczak

It really depends on the 10 year old! I think in general the best things to look for in a summer camp include: 1) Size - Do you want a big camp or a focused camp? Are you looking for more of a social development or an academic/special interest development? Larger camps might be better for social development, if the 10 year old is extroverted - but if you are seeking to develop something academically or special interest, a smaller camp might be better. 2) Focus - Are you looking for a social experience or an academic/special interest + social experience? Both are different - there are some great general camps out there that will focus on meeting people and friends and others that will involve a learned skill set PLUS friends. 3) Day or Residential - Are you looking for a day program where they come home, or a program that keeps the students overnight?

After these big questions get answered, then it's definitely about the specifics. Not all camps are created equal and there is no one camp for everyone. Good luck!

Your Answer