BBB: Tips to Find a Good Summer Camp for the Kids

June 23, 2017

Summer is officially here and the kids are just about in your hair all day, every day. What better time than to shuffle them off to a summer camp for a few days. Just like anything else when it comes to spending your money, research is needed to find the right camp for your children. 

Millions of Canadian kids will be trotting off to camps of all sorts from computer animation all the way to fencing. How do you know which is best for your child's needs and keep them safe? Better Business Bureau wants to aid you in that decision with advice on choosing the perfect summer camp for your child.

Obviously, you want your child to be interested in the camp you or they choose. Is the camp appropriate for the age level of your child? If it's a technical camp, like 3D clay animation (yep, it's a thing), make sure they can grasp the concepts. Many camps, of course, have age restrictions as well. Some camps, like the aforementioned 3D camp, are very focused on one specific learning outcome where others are more flexible and have a wide range of activities for your child to choose from. 

However, before deciding, parents need to research camps. Ask how long the camp has been in business and check with parents and kids that have been to the camps. Visit your final choices and inspect facilities, check out the staff’s training, their experience and make sure to find out how medical emergencies are handled. If the camp is an overnight camp, inspect cabins, showers, and any other major facilities on the grounds. Also, visit the ACA website for more information.

BBB offers these additional tips:

  • Visit the camp before submitting your deposit.
  • Read online reviews, ask friends for references
  • Ask about fees and payment deadlines. Is your deposit refundable? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation offered?
  • What is the camp’s return rate? What about the counselor’s return rate?
  • What is the camp director's background? How is staff trained? Are criminal checks made for employees and volunteers? What is the ratio of campers to staff members?
  • Are medical facilities adequate? Is a nurse or doctor on site? Are medical facilities close by?
  • What are the safety rules and how are they enforced?
  • Does the camp have appropriate insurance?
  • Ask to see a typical daily schedule.
  • Are family visits and other communications with campers allowed?
  • Obtain references.