NSLAP WELLNESS TIP: Choosing a summer camp - creating summer memories!
The following is an article excerpt from Homewood Human Solutions™, your health and wellness provider.
Memories of long winter days are finally fading and the anticipation of summer fun is just around the corner. With the school year coming to a close, it’s not too early to begin planning your children’s summer activities. Choosing from the many available options of day or overnight camp can be a daunting task for working parents, requiring a significant amount of research.
Homewood EAP would like to assist you by identifying some key factors that will help you to make some well-informed choices, providing your child with a summer full of fun and memories!
Most importantly, remember...
Your child has his/her own unique needs and desires. It is important that the ultimate selection of a camp accommodates all or some of the needs, interests, goals and expectations of both parent and child. Sending your child to a camp because other friends (or yourself in earlier times!) may have enjoyed it could be the wrong assumption. As well, many different factors including your child’s age, how easily he or she handles separation from the family, your child’s special interests and skills and your preferences as a parent, should all be key considerations in making a well-informed choice of day or overnight camp.
Summer camp preferences checklist
Now the fun begins! At your earliest opportunity, take some time to sit down with your child and determine what appeals to you both. Some things to consider would be:
- Sleepaway (generally 1-8 weeks)
- Close to home
- Considerable distance from home
- Water sports
- Performing Arts
- Creative Arts
- Team/Individual Sports
Gender of campers
- Girls only
- Boys only
Ages of campers
- Same age
- Two-year spread
- 3-5 year spread
- Any age range
Cost: What works best for your budget? Will there be additional costs?
After you have given some thought to the type of camp experience you are looking for, it is now a good time to contact your local camping association. Each province or state has formed a community of camp professionals devoted to maintaining high standards for organized camping. For example, in Ontario there is the Ontario Camping Association, a voluntary, non-profit organization devoted to maintaining the highest standards for organized camping. The OCA has made available to the public, “The Camping Guide” which lists all the camps accredited by the Association.
This accreditation process assures prospective campers and their families that an established standard of quality in every aspect of a camp's operation has been met. To find out more about the various camping associations, you can visit the following websites:
- Canadian Camping Association, www.ccamping.org
- Canadian Parents for French – Nova Scotia, http://www.cpfns.ednet.ns.ca/
- Camping Association of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, http://canspei.ca/
- American Camp Association, www.acacamps.org
- International Camping Fellowship, www.campingfellowship.org
With the many different programs and recreational experiences available for children today, giving the time and thought necessary to choose the ideal camp experience will be a richly rewarding experience for both you and your child.
“Yes, summer is over, but not in my mind for memories of camp will last a lifetime”.
For more information and support on choosing a summer camp, along with resources and counseling in other life topics, visit the NSLAP website at www.nslap.ca. Please note that NSLAP is your “company” name when you register. When you call the NSLAP number at 1-866-299-1299, (Français: 1-866-398-9505; TTY: 1-888-384-1152) Your call will be answered any time, day or night, 365 days per year.