Juggling work and family life can become a whirlwind for many parents, and it can become even more so during the summer. The question of what to do with the kids during the summer months is a big issue for a lot of families. Summer camp may be the answer. But with all the choices out there it can be difficult to find just the right program for your child.
Summer fun starts with homework - at least for mom and dad. Summer is right around the corner and while kids are looking forward to days without homework, the assignment for parents is finding suitable summer fun. With registration already open for some camps, BBB has tips for parents looking for a safe, fun-filled camp for their children.
Choosing a summer camp is not a decision to be taken lightly. Choosing a camp should be taken as seriously as choosing a daycare. It's important to research different locations to find out costs, condition of the facilities, safety protocols and terms and conditions so parents can make a wise, informed decision.
The BBB offers the following tips for parents searching for the right camp:
- Always visit the camp before submitting your deposit. Check its location and view the living, eating and recreational facilities. Ask about safety procedures (particularly for water activities, archery and out-of-camp trips), and assess the quality and commitment of the staff.
- Ask about fees and payment deadlines. Is your deposit refundable? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation offered?
- What about insurance? Does the camp have appropriate insurance coverage?
- What kind of camp is appropriate for your child? Be sure to search camps that are age-appropriate for your kids. Also consider what your kids' interests and hobbies are (drama, dancing, musical theatre etc...) and if they prefer a day-camp or a sleep-away camp.
- Verify the address and contact information of the camp. Check that the information provided on the facility's website is accurate in case concerns or issues arise during your child's stay.
- What is the camp director's background? How is the staff trained? Are criminal checks made for employees and volunteers? What is the ratio of campers to staff members? Make an appointment with the director to find out.
- Are references from parents of repeat campers available? Ask the parents about their child's experience and why they recommend the camp.
- Are medical facilities adequate? Is a nurse or doctor on site? What are the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to medical facilities? Are those facilities nearby?
- Contact your provincial camping association. Find out which camps meet provincial standards when it comes to the facility itself, health and safety as well as leadership and other factors.
- Start your search with trust. Search BBB Business Reviews for licensing information, complaint history and other important information.
For more information and other consumer tips, visit bbb.org.