Research Needed Before Sending Kids to Camp

May 02, 2012

Denver, CO – May 2, 2012 – According to the American Camp Association, more than 12,000 day and resident camps exist in the U.S., and more than 11 million children and adults attend camp each year. When it comes time to choose that perfect camp for your child or grandchild, how do you choose? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises taking the time to look beyond brochures and website pictures before making a decision.

Over the past three years, BBBs nationwide have received more than 350 complaints against various camps across the country. Common disputes allege dissatisfaction with camp activities or staff, mistakes in the billing cycle and refund issues.

The BBB advises parents to begin their search early and look for a camp centered on their child’s interests and age. In addition to checking out camps on the BBB offers the following tips for parents who are searching for the right camp to send their children to this summer:

· Get references. Ask parents of other campers about their child’s experience and why they recommend one camp over another. Also note, there is no government oversight of camps, so it’s especially important to look for facilities that are certified by the American Camp Association, which requires camps to meet up to 300 nationally recognized standards.

· Visit the camp in person. Check all living, eating and recreational facilities. Be sure to ask about safety procedures and how rules are enforced.

· Assess the quality and commitment of the staff. Find out the camp director’s background, the criteria used for hiring staff and whether certification in CPR and First Aid is required. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specific area.

· Know the fees and payment policies. What is the total cost of tuition? Is your money refundable should the camp be canceled? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation included? Make sure all these details are included in your contract.

· Ask about medical care and insurance. Check out the medical facilities to be sure they are adequate. Find out if a nurse or doctor is onsite. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities and under what circumstances you will be notified of any problems.

· Consider a backup plan. In case the camp you choose gets canceled for unexpected reasons, be sure to have another camp or two in mind. It is ideal to also visit and research those backup camps in advance so that you can be well-informed in the event of a last-minute decision.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, over 100 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.