Nancy LaPook Diamond took the time to offer LoveToKnow Kids readers some insight into choosing a kids' camp. Nancy is president and founder of NicheDirectories.com, a full service Internet marketing and Web development company for the summer camp industry. KidsCamps, the company's flagship publication, has been online since 1995. The company also publishes CampJobs.com, CampersMall.com, CampDirectorsMall.com and GrownUpCamps.com.
Explain Kids Camps
KidsCamps.com is considered to be the destination website for families looking for a summer camp for their child. From day camps to overnight camps, special needs programs to teen tours, KidsCamps.com offers the most comprehensive database of summer camps and programs. Easy to use and navigate, visitors can select from a variety of criteria to find the perfect summer camp experience for their child. The site has a database of over 15,000+ programs worldwide and receives 750,000+ monthly visitors.
How can parents find a special needs camp for a child who has cancer, diabetes, or other illness/condition?
- Network with other parents
- Receive recommendations from schools, physicians, organizations
- Check KidsCamps.com-KidsCamps.com is very proud of their comprehensive special needs section which lists camps by special needs categories. Many of the camps have their website linked, as well.
Parents of special needs children will want to consider the following when selecting a camp:
- Does the camp have a doctor on staff?
- What kind of training do the director and staff have working with children who have similar issues?
- How is the staff hired?
- Are they background checked?
- What is the ratio of counselors to campers?
- What emergency arrangements have been made with nearby hospitals?
- How is communication with the parent during the summer handled?
- How is medication, treatments, therapies handled?
How can parents prepare their child for his or her first summer camp experience?
- Involve your child in the process of selecting the camp program.
- Encourage your child's independence throughout the year.
- Review camp brochures, videos, website together so your child is familiar with the program.
- Visit the camp if possible.
- Meet with the camp director or key staff.
- Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves.
- Be positive!
What tips can you offer for packing for camp?
- Involve your child in the packing of the trunk so he is familiar with the things you are sending to camp.
- Label everything! Accept that clothing will be lost or ruined, so you don't want to send expensive clothing.
- Many camps offer packing lists and parents should stick to the items suggested. Don't send favorite toys, books, or stuffed animals, as you don't want to risk losing them.
What are the most popular trends in summer camps?
- Specialty camps
- Special needs camps
- Shorter sessions so the child has a number of camp experiences over the summer
- Family camps
- How to find a great camp job and start building your resume. Be sure to visit CampJobs.com, the online source for summer camp job opportunities.
What qualifications should the camp staff have?
Each camp has their own criteria for hiring, but among the qualifications a counselor should have include the following:
- Ability to work well with children
- Patience, creativity, reliability, enthusiasm, honesty
- Willingness to be a positive role model
- High energy
- Leadership abilities
- Belief you can make a difference in the life of a child
- Strong code of ethics
What costs are included in camp tuition?
Each camp has its own policies as to what is included in camp tuition and whether items such as canteen, trips, photos, additional instructions, transportation are included or not.
Where can our readers find out more about choosing a camp?