Questions to ask a camp director

January 19th, 2021


Camp is a wonderful experience that will benefit your child’s mental and physical well-being, even more so during the pandemic. Before beginning your search, consult other parents who have sent their child to camp and other friends, neighbors, and relatives. A personal referral is always the best way to narrow the possibilities. Check social media, web sites, reviews, and referral organizations like the ACA. Once you have one in mind, call, or contact the camp. It is a good sign if the camp director replies quickly, a likely indication of what to expect during the summer. They should be polite, informative, confident, and patient.

Staffing & Supervision

How are counselors hired, screened & trained? What are their qualifications? How old are they? What are the ratios of supervision? Ten campers to one counselor should be the maximum. How are the campers grouped, by age & grade? Are the groups coed? Campers do best when they are with their age & not more than a year younger or older. Co-ed groups should be for the youngest & oldest campers.

Transportation & Extended Day

Most parents either work or are watching younger kids at home. Homes may not be close enough to the camp for them to drive them to camp. Bus service & extended hours is crucial. Is transportation and/or extended hours available; does it cost extra? What types of buses are used? Are bus drivers certified, fingerprinted, Etc.? Are seatbelts mandatory and are buses air-conditioned and supervised? Is bus service door to door or do you have to meet the bus somewhere else? How long is the trip to and from camp? An hour or less is optimal. What time is bus pick up & drop off? If the camp offers extended day, what are the hours? What activities are available for kids who stay after the buses leave. Is a combination of bus & extended hours available?

Discipline Policy

Every camp is required to have a discipline policy. Ask about it. Who may administer discipline and when? Camps should never restrict a camper from an activity, meal, or event as punishment.


Tuition, payment options, discounts, and refunds

Affordability is always important - tuition and also what it includes. Are payment plans available and free? Is there a minimum number of days or weeks you may attend? Is there a surcharge for credit card payments? Can you increase or decrease the enrollment without penalty? Can you make up missed days? What is the camps refund policy? Is there a sibling, early-bird, or essential worker discount? If lunch is available, what is the cost & menu? What about snacks and drinks?

Activities

Ask about the camp’s program and activities. Unless the camp is a “specialty camp,” that specializes in one particular area, like tennis, drama, or gymnastics, a nice variety of activities consisting of sports, fitness, the arts, science & nature, theme days, and field trips, will maintain your child’s interest for the summer. Ask if the activities are age-appropriate, competitive or just for fun. What is the camp’s policy for campers who do not want to participate? If the camp goes on field trips, where do they go & how do they get there? How are they supervised?

Health

When necessary, how is camper medication administered? Is there a Nurse or other medical professional ON duty, AT camp, at all times? What precautions are taken for campers with food and peanut allergies or campers with pre-existing medical conditions like asthma? Are counselors certified in CPR & first aide? What are the protocols for injuries and parental notification? Does the camp apply sunscreen?

Enrollment Process

Most camps use an on-line enrollment system, which makes registration easy and efficient. However, some parents may prefer to enroll in person. Camps have numerous, regularly scheduled, in person open houses, where a parent can visit, ask questions, tour the camp, and enroll. It’s also a great opportunity to ask other parents who are returning from previous summers their opinion. It is advisable to bring the camper with you to at least one before camp begins. A good director will be tolerant of all your questions and concerns and generous with his time.

Choosing the best camp for you child does not have to be a difficult job. Do your due diligence, talk to other parents, then contact and visit the camps you are considering. A good camp director will help with your search.

The Camp Business & COVID

October 8, 2020

Recently, we attended a couple of day camp conferences, as we do every year at this time. It gives us a chance to converse with our peers, compare notes & discuss and review best practices. This year’s discussions were dominated by the pandemic. More than half the NY & NJ day camps we met, opened. Most reported enrollment at approximately 50% capacity. Many of the experiences we shared were similar.

-Owners, directors & staff were anxious and even “scared” of both opening & not opening, (same as us).

- There was NOT one case of COVID- campers or staff, at any camp.

-Parents were more appreciative & thankful than any summer in memory.

-Even with limited activities, restrictions & horrible weather, (for us, a tornado, hurricane & Black-outs) most campers raved that this summer was the best, ever.

-Parents who did cancel & there were many, were regretful, got refunds and credits with most planning to return in 2021

- Most expect 2021 to be normal, but are prepared for any contingency

- Camps improvised & adjusted operations in many ways, mostly with session length, lunch, busing & drastically curtailed enrollment & group size.

-Without exception, every director who opened their camp, were happy they did and thought 2020 to be the most gratifying summer of their career

We plan to participate in more conferences, virtual seminars, and meetings, thru out the year. Our effort to remain the most innovative, safe & successful day camps, continues long after we say goodbye to you each summer.

Skills gained from camp

June 14, 2019

Camp will begin soon. You may be wondering how we help prepare our children with the skills and competencies our campers will need to tackle changes in our world? We believe that quest begins with a positive camp experience. A quality camp provides your children with the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living.

Camp promotes community. Camp is a place where kids can “practice” growing up stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family. This is what childhood is supposed to provide.

Camp creates future leaders. The camp experience offers kids a close-up look at compassionate leadership through the camp director, counselors, resident nutritionist, and other camp personnel. And kids get loads of opportunities to practice being a leader themselves — song leader, lunch table leader, team captain, the list goes on and on.

Camp has a lasting impact. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is a sense of success and achievement.

Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. Now more than ever, kids need camp.

Summers are for having fun. It’s a time to spend with friends & make memories and experiences that last a lifetime. That’s what RC Day Camp is all about. We provide an exciting and fulfilling camp experience by providing of fun, recreational, safe and educational activities.

Our staff consists of professionals who work in child related fields throughout the year. Our directors are licensed teachers and coaches in various schools and thru-out the city.

Our camp offers a wide range of activities for children from four to 15 years of age. Our programs are innovative, safe & healthy activities that best suits the needs of our campers. Safety is always our highest priority. Have a wonderful summer

Sincerely,

RC Day camp

The Benefits of Summer camp

October 7, 2018

Each year, over six million children attend camp in the U.S. alone. While there are endless reasons camp is invaluable for your children, here are a few of the most important benefits from summer camp:

C: Connectivity

A: Activity

M: Maturity

P: Parental Relief

Connectivity: When you ask adults who were campers for their biggest take-away from camp, more than half of the time they’ll respond that it’s their friends. Of course, spending time with any group of people will bring you closer together, but there is something special about summer camp that gives kids a shared purpose and a greater sense of community – from the sports, games and bonding, to experiencing new activities for the first time with one another, camp is a support system that builds friendships far beyond summertime.

Activity: Kids were born to run! After 10 months of pent up energy, camp gives kids a structured way to release and channel their excitement through nonstop activity. While campers may be active during the school year, the outdoor environment of camp is exponentially beneficial to your camper’s physical and mental health. Biologist Edward O. Wilson, Ph.D., introduced his theory of ‘Biophilia’ about thirty years ago which explains humans’ innate affinity for the natural world. Stay tuned for more about camp and the great outdoors in our next blog post!

Maturity: The only way for a bird to learn how to fly is to leave the nest. (Cliche, but true). Camp provides an opportunity for kids to make decisions for themselves and to navigate a new world as an individual. With the support of counselors, staff, and friends, children have the chance not only to explore the outer world, but also their inner world. Through the development of self-confidence along with social skills, your campers will return home more mature than ever!

Parental relief: As we’ve mentioned, it is tremendously beneficial for your campers to develop their independence with some time away from their parents. However, it is also beneficial for you as well. Although it may sound silly, spending time away from your children will make you miss them, and consequently, end up strengthening your relationship. Also, if you rely on camp so you can work, knowing they are safe and having fun in a healthy environment will help keep you stress free and happy. Check out this great article in The Huffington Post for more reasons: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carrie-visintainer/10-reasons-its-healthy-for-parents-to-spend-time-away-from-their-kids_b_6783916.html course, this is just a bird’s eye view of all the benefits of summer camp, but we look forward to exploring these ideas more in depth as the summer goes on. Even better, we’d love to hear about your favorite parts of camp – either from your own experiences or some from your campers.

LM