OK Mom and Dad,
It probably seems like all your friends are way too organized for the summer. They have every detail for the next three months meticulously planned out--vacation plans: check. Summer schedule. check. Summer Camp. check. What about you?
I can't help you with your vacation plans or your summer schedule, but as a parent of two, and as the president of iD Tech Camps, I know a thing or two about what questions to ask when selecting summer camps. How do you get started? Here a few ideas that might help you out.
1. Who owns and manages the summer camp?
As a parent, you want to gauge their qualifications, expertise, years in the business, reputation, and commitment, year over year, to their camp business. Are they still involved, or are the owners operating a web based business from Tahiti?
2. How long has the summer camp been in operation?
If it is a new camp, you can bet that the organization is still working through a lot of bugs. Look for a camp with an established track record. I'd prefer to find a camp that has been operating for five seasons or more. This proves the camp is not a fly by night operation.
3. Does the summer camp specialize in a certain educational area?
People come to iD Tech Camps because we specialize in technology. We have the hard-won reputation for being the best computer camp in the business. So, when you select a summer camp, make sure the camp specializes in a certain area: sports camps, language camps, computer camps, science camps...you get the idea. I'd even recommend doing a Google Search on the summer camp type of your choice to see what's out there.
4. What is the commitment to safety and risk management of the summer camp?
Many camps are ACA Accredited (American Camp Association). This means they follow many rigorous safety and operational guidelines and are audited by ACA staff. I can assure you that a camp that has taken the (difficult) steps to become ACA Accredited has a greater awareness for the risks its summer camp will face. iD Tech Camps is ACA Accredited in California and each of our locations nationally follows the same risk management practices.
5. Who are the camp counselors?
Every summer camp claims to have the best counselors. But how do you really know? As an example, we only hire adult staff. They are trained in-person. We have very small ratios, averaging just 6 students per instructor. A lot of camps claim to have small ratios, but what you should ask is this..."What is the maximum number of students that will be assigned to the counselor?" This will give you peace of mind--and you'll know what to expect. Of course, you need to go deeper with questions regarding the staff. Are they background checked? How are they trained? How old are they? Are counselors-in-training going to be supervising your kids? How are the staff trained? What is the staff retention rate? Who manages the staff? Are they evaluated frequently?
OK, are you ready to go select a camp? Good luck. Have fun! Camp is about sending your kids off to a fun, stimulating environment where they learn a new skill, make friends, and have a blast. Most camps still have a few spaces left for the summer, so make sure to see what's still available. You might even find that waiting to register for camp, unlike those ultra-prepared friends of yours, has its benefits.
Until the next time, iD Nation!