School is almost out and summer vacation is within reach. While the kids will be enjoying their time off from school, many parents are scrambling to find the perfect summer camp for their child.
According to the American Camp Association (ACA) some 14 million children will attend camp this year. With over 14,000 camps in United States, choosing the right camp can be a daunting task.
This year Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is encouraging parents to look beyond the flashy brochures and websites when choosing a camp.
“When looking for summer camps for your children, take the time to do your research,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “While your child’s safety is the top priority, you also want to make sure the camp is a good fit for your child.”
BBB offers the following tips for parents seeking the right camp for their child:
Do your research. Head to bbb.org to view the camp’s rating and read past customer reviews and complaints if the camp has any. You should also check to see if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA) and meets its 32 mandatory national summer camp standards.
Visit the camp before making a decision. Check its location and view the living, eating and recreational facilities. Be sure to ask about safety procedures, particularly for water activities, archery and out-of-camp trips.
Interview the staff. Find out the camp director’s background, as well as the criteria used for hiring staff. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specific area.
Ask about the medical care. Check out the medical facilities to be sure they are adequate. Find out if a nurse or doctor is on site. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities.
Understand the safety rules. Find out what the rules are and how they are enforced. Ask about the camp’s insurance coverage. Check the condition and safety of the facilities and equipment. Note any dangerous areas, like cliffs, swamps or water zones.
Know the fees. What is the total cost for the summer? Is your deposit refundable? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation included? Is financial aid available?