What You Need To Know About Overnight Summer Camps

Camps often focus on specialties that include: adventure, art, computer, dance, music, religion, horse riding, sports, theatre, and many others. There are camps with activities as traditional as model rocketry and riflery, to those nontraditional as aviation, computers, language studies, golf, martial arts or community service. Many kid campers are enrolled in summer camp by their parents early in the year, thus camps fill up quickly.

There are popular overnight summer camps in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada; there are camps in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and just about every country in the world. Basically, if you can think of any subject of interest, there’s probably a camp that specializes in it. Beyond the traditional sports – baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, football, and more – there are camps for outdoor enthusiasts that can offer horseback riding, hiking, camping, fishing, and even rappelling.

Overnight summer camp is also known as a sleepaway camp when campers spend their nights at the camp; some camps do allow both daytime and overnight campers. There are four basic types of camps to choose from for your child: day programs, sleepaway or overnight summer camp, day programs with trips, and special needs camps. Planning early is important; you should be diligent in your efforts to visit camps during the peak season to make plans in advance of the next camping year.

Most camp counselors are in their late teens or early twenties and are high school and college students on their summer break. Visit the camp; you can view campers and counselors in their element, witness activities as they occur, and just obtain an overall feel of the camp, something that cannot be accurately experienced when the camp is closed. The reputation of an overnight summer camp can also be determined by asking what percentage of counselors returned from the previous year.

College credit courses are very popular at overnight summer camps that typically offer students the opportunity to explore a pre-college experience; usually, students entering grades 10 through 12 stay in college dormitories and attend summer classes run by the college faculty. Try to determine whether the director incorporates a similar philosophy to running the camp as you do in parenting your child or children. Non-profit camps often range from $1200 to $3000 for four weeks and $2500 to $5000 for eight weeks.

Four weeks at a good private overnight summer camp or sleepaway camp will cost anywhere from $3500 to $6500, and eight weeks will range from $4000 to $7000. Some camps are often called adventure camps – having a very specific theme or interest; many of these programs emphasize skill development and personal growth through the adventures the offer. Camps should have at least a 40% to 60% return staff ratio, which shows that the camp is seen as a good place to spend a summer.

Get to know the camp director from an in-person visit to your home if possible, phone conversations, email or other correspondence. Camp tuition can be expensive; similar to travel insurance, there are now insurance policies for families sending their children to overnight summer camp to cover last minute cancellations, homesickness, medical emergencies and emergency evacuations. Check the camper-counselor ratio to determine the number of campers for each counselor.

If you think your child may not be ready for a sleepaway or overnight summer camp, choose a local camp in case you end up having to make a late night pickup in the event he or she gets homesick. Think about what you and your child hope they’ll get from going to camp. Overnight summer camp is often the first time that most children spend a long period of time away from home. Typically an overnight summer camp experience will leave a lot of wonderful memories for the child or teen camper.