I am so happy to partner with The Little Gym today to bring you some important things to consider before choosing a summer camp.
Who knew that choosing a summer camp could create panic? Okay, that is a bit drastic. But really – who knew it would be stressful?
This is our first year doing summer camp and it turns there were some very important things I began to consider. And because I am how I am this sent me into a spiral of research and quite soon overwhelmed with options.
Though, as you know me so well, this will not at all surprise you.
But neither will this:
I will tell you if you promise not to laugh. Did you promise?
I hope so – you kind souls …
I came up with a 3-step no-fail process for choosing the best summer camp.
Camp choosing is serious business!
I thought I’d share my 3-step no-fail camp choosing process with you. You lucky ladies you.
1. To begin, I asked myself, ‘What do we want to get out of camp?’ For me, camp is not a form of child care. I want specific things for our children to achieve through their camp experience.
For my youngest, who is shy and quiet, I want the opportunity to build his confidence. I want a small camp, ideally for only half a day, and I want camp counselors that focus on team building – not competition.
For my six year old, I want a space where he can run and jump and MOVE. I want him to spend his day using up all of that wonderful energy he has. I also want him to work on his social skills, taking turns, meeting new people, and developing friendships.
Alright! Easy peasy. I know what I am looking for in a camp – now step 2.
2. Safety. Very, very often summer camps involve swimming. Due to the age of my little ones they are really non-swimmers. Sure, my 6 year old could likely keep his head above water, but if he were to be splashed or get knocked, I don’t believe his head would stay above water very long. The idea of my little guys swimming without me makes me nervous.
And what good is summer camp if Mama is just spending the time fretting?!
But there is an easy solution for this. Choose a camp that doesn’t have swimming! And if this doesn’t work, send a life jacket and inform all camp counselors and anyone else involved in the care of your child that you insist your child wears it at all times.
This brought up a second component of safety for me: choosing a small camp — with only a few people in charge, there is no miscommunication.
Okay – now I know what I want out of camp and I know my child will be safe. Which brings us to …
3. Positive role models. Summertime seems to last a lifetime when you are a child. I remember the feeling of summer and school being equal parts of a year when I was little. Each summer we would head to a cottage for one week – and that week felt like an eternity! A beautiful, blissful, fun-filled eternity. I wonder if it felt that way for my parents …
Since one week of summer camp has this very same potential, it is important to me that the individuals in charge of the care of my children are fabulous.
I want camp counselors that are highly trained and love kids. I want them to be fabulous role models for my little guys. So many opportunities for learning social skills will present themselves in camp – these opportunities can make a world of a difference for kids.
So how can we find out how stellar the camp counselors are? We can call the camp and ask oodles of questions about training of counselors and how counselors are selected. We can talk to individuals who have sent their child to that particular camp. Sure, it takes some time – but if I want this experience to really be worthwhile I know it will be worth it.
Plus it is part of the 3-step no-fail camp choosing plan, so it’s kind of mandatory ..
Pretty good – right?! I know what I want my kids to get from their camp experience, and I know they will be safe and surrounded by caring adults.
But for my family, we have a fourth requirement.
4. Flexibility. Now this may or may not be relevant for you, but for my family it is super important. Since my whole family is home for the summer we like to go on day trips here and there, plan camping trips mid-week, and more or less fly by the seat of our pants so to speak.
Imagine my delight when I found a fabulous summer camp that meets all 3 of my above requirements that also offers COMPLETE flexibility. We could sign our kids up for as many or as few camp days as we like – including half day options. We could do three mornings one week, and one afternoon the following.
Perfect for our spur of the moment family adventures. And since this camp is The Little Gym camp I know it will be spectacular.
We did our research and found a camp just perfect for my little guys. Now they will go and make memories to last a lifetime while I am confident that they are safe and thriving. Well worth the 3-step no-fail camp choosing process I do believe.
If you are thinking The Little Gym camp sounds just right for you and your little ones, pop on over to their website to see if they have a location near you. I hope so!
The Little Gym Camps offer:
a safe, developmentally appropriate and FUN summer camp program for children aged 3-12
half day and completely flexible enrollment options
educational crafts and activities
loads of fun in the great big gym to get little bodies moving
Incredible fun for children, and complete peace of mind for parents.
Best of all, each The Little Gym location offers slightly varied programs based on the needs of their communities. So check them out – I know you will be completely impressed.
I cannot say enough about our The Little Gym experience. This business is like nothing I have ever experienced before. These people KNOW kids. They really, really love working with children — and it really, really shows.
If you would like to find out more about The Little Gym, you can read this post I wrote all about how they boosted my little Ben’s confidence through the roof! Or at least out of Mama’s lap.
Thank you so much for reading friends, I hope you are having a fabulous week!