Sponsored Content provided by Richmond County Day Camp
Choosing the right summer camp for your child can be exciting—but it can also be tricky. Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations, and check referral organizations like the American Camp Association (ACA). Once you’ve targeted a few, pick up the phone or visit the camp. The best way to choose the right summer camp for your child is to speak to a camp director and ask him/her the right questions.
How is the camp handling the COVID epidemic?
No one knows what—if any—restrictions and modifications will be necessary for the upcoming summer. Last summer, Richmond County Day Camp in Staten Island was one of the few camps in the area that opened.
“We felt it was important to provide a safe, fun summer to our campers (and relief to their parents),” camp director Kathy McBride said. “Many were isolated with no friends or recreation for months. Enrollment and group size was limited, and cleanliness, distancing, and other guidelines were adhered to. We fully expect that in 2021, camp will return to normal, but we are prepared for any eventuality.”
What are the facilities like?
Look for safety, cleanliness, and an indoor/air-conditioned building for those hot and rainy days. Is there an adequate, private swimming pool? Are there sport’s fields and other amenities to keep your kids busy. It is also wise to find out how many years the camp has been operating and the qualifications and experience of the owners and directors.
How were staff members hired?
Who is going to be overseeing your kids, and keeping them happy and safe? How were they screened and trained? Parents should also ask about the camper to counselor ratio. McBride suggests that ten campers to every counselor should be the maximum. Ask how the campers are grouped—by age, grade, gender, etc.? Campers should always be with other campers their own age.
Are transportation & extended hours provided?
Ask about bus service: Is it included or extra? Are drivers certified and buses inspected? Do all vehicles have seat belts, air conditioning, and supervision? Is door to door service an option? How long is the trip to and from camp? What about pick-up/drop-off times? Is extended day an option?
What is the tuition and how can it be paid?
In addition to the cost of tuition, you will want to ask about payment plans and if there’s minimum number of days or weeks of attendance. Is there a surcharge for using a credit card? Also, can you make changes to your enrollment without penalty? What is the refund policy and are there sibling or early-bird discounts? What is included in tuition—lunch or snacks, for example?
What kinds of activities does the camp offer?
Good camps offer a wide variety of activities such as swimming, sports, art, music, nature, and trips to keep your child interested. Richmond County Day Camp, for example, does all those activities and also takes campers to Medieval Times, Dave & Busters, baseball games, iPlay America and much more.
How does the camp communicate with parents?
Does the camp send out regular emails, newsletters, or text messages? Do they have a social media presence? How will you know if there are weather cancellations or late dismissals? Can parents visit during camp and are messages returned promptly?
Is there a camp nurse or other health professional?
There should be a trained medical professional on site at all times. Are counselors certified in CPR? Does the camp apply sunscreen? How are food allergies and pre-existing medical conditions handled? Who dispenses medicines and tends to injuries?
Now is the perfect time to choose a summer camp. Tuition may be lower, and groups have not been filled. Reach out to a camp director today. We all know our kids could use some safe, healthy fun in the sun this summer.