The experience kids have going to camp? That it's amazing and fun and the time just flies by. The experience parents have finding the perfect sleep away camp experience for their kids? The total opposite. Between the piles of brochures, the sticker shock and the hand-wringing about whether your child is even ready, well, we wouldn’t blame you if you want to forget the whole thing.
BUT there is actually a low stress and FREE way to figure out the camp conundrum thanks to the independent consultants at advisory service The Camp Experts & Teen Summers. Think of them as your personal sleep away camp sherpas. They’ve already done all the legwork, researching and checking out thousands of summer camp programs in the US and abroad to help you find a fabulous fit for your family – whether it’s in Jersey or Germany.
We asked the Bergen County-based advisors with The Camp Experts & Teen Summers to give us the rundown on some the most popular camp categories to help figure out which one’s the best match for your future camper.
How would you describe traditional sleep away camps?
These provide a wide variety of non-stop fun and action. Days and nights are often packed with activities, like solo and team sports, adventure challenges, arts and crafts, and drama productions. Programs can be single-sex, co-ed, or “brother-sister camps,” which are mixed gender but feature separate campuses and facilities.
What about the growing world of specialty camps?
These camps are designed to highlight a particular interest, such as performing arts, fine arts, sports, or academic and travel programs. The entire site and camp schedule revolves around the selected pursuit or leisure activity.
And special needs camps?
These camps meet the distinct requirements of a wide range of children. They create an invigorating and entertaining outdoor summer experience for the campers while also ensuring a beneficial, therapeutic environment.
When should parents begin their search for sleep away camp?
As soon as possible! Touring a camp while it’s in session is always a good idea, so you and your child can get a real feel for its programs, staff involvement, and the level of supervision. You may have to begin your research as early as a year and a half in advance since they fill up that fast. If you register early, not only do you avoid the risk of losing out due to enrollment closing early in the year, but many camps also offer early bird specials with tuition incentives.
The Camp Experts are standing by and ready to help get you organized and set up your camp tours this summer (plus give you good insider tips on what to look for). So say goodbye to feeling overwhelmed (about camp at least) and say hello to Debbie Rosen-Alfonso and Lara Weinberg who will help you find the perfect camp for your child.