It is never too late to start your research for a summer camp. There are many things to consider when choosing a camp for your child however we believe the most important thing to consider is beyond far the professionalism of any camp.
You are entrusting your child to the care of virtual strangers so be sure they represent what you are looking for in their values and standards.
Here are 5 solid tips to help you determine the standard of quality care, programming and service of the summer camp you are considering.
1. How long has the camp been operating?
If the camp has been operating for over 10 years then you can assume safely that they are doing something right! Their program is probably fun and their service is most likely good. The Camp industry is very competitive. This is a good thing because the bad ones tend to get weeded out quickly. The standard is high when working with children as well as it should be. Look into the camps history and find some dates!
2. Is the camp certified by any organisation?
As strange as this may sound, summer camps are not a regulated child care service. For example in Quebec the process to open a daycare or preschool is tremendously tedious but anyone, yes anyone, can open a summer camp. It becomes the responsibility of the consumer to sort through the vast amount of camps. So as a consumer, what should you look for to get a head start in determining quality? ACQ stamp of approval. What is that? The ACQ stands for: The Association of Camps in Quebec. This is the only organisation that looks over the “summer camp organisations” shoulder. The thing to remember is that the ACQ is a private organisation paid by camps to certify them. Does this cause a conflict of interest? It may but as a summer camp that has gone through the certification process with the ACQ I can honestly say that they do a good job setting a high standard. They are essential in creating guidelines especially for new camps.
3. Who works for the camp your child will attend?
Any good camp will have a section on their website introducing you to their selection process in hiring staff. Staff in a camp will make or break your child’s experience. If you are interested in a camp that has an academic tone you want to be sure that there is an emphasis on education when describing their counsellor. For example our camp is focused on teaching English therefore our recruitment process requires applicants to have an educational interest or background. How old is the staff? If you find a camp that you are interested in that does not mention age, I strongly suggest you call and ask. We hire only 18years old and older and there is a difference in the expectation with an older experienced staff compared to most city camps that hire 16 year olds with no child care experience.
4. Expect to get what you pay for.
This by no means is to imply that less expensive camps provide a poor service. There are many city camps and private camps that are excellent. However if you pay less for a camp your expectations must reflect the camps agenda, which may be simple child care and entertainment. If you pay for a high end camp you can have high expectations especially a camp that promises something.
5. Last but certainly not least, refer to social media and hear what people are saying about the camps you are considering.
In this day and age we are so fortunate to have immediate feedback on services. Everyone writes reviews. Go on google and check their reviews. Go on Facebook and check their page and reviews. What type of things are they posting? Are they posting mainly promotions on their services or they are posting child friendly contents? Either way ENGAGE, ask questions? Ask about the camps in social media chat rooms to see if you can get direct comments.
The bottom line is do your due diligence and let the focus be on fun. Kids work hard all year long so the time off in the summer needs to be happy and rejuvenating. If your child is happy with their experience you will be happy with your choice.