Summer and winter camp is an institution in America. Every child should get an opportunity to have the wonderful experiences at a sleepaway camp. However, to ensure your children’s security, there are 5 questions you should ask some tough questions of the camp administrators when choosing the right camp for your child.
1) How do you screen camp counselors? Most camps will screen applicants’ applications for criminal records and call references listed on their application, but not all will. Drug screening is also a best-practices check, but not all camps do it.
2) What training regimen do you give your employees? Supervising children who are away from home for the first time is a tough job. All camp employees, including cooks and bus drivers, should have full training in dealing with kids and their particular needs. They should also receive CPR and first aid training.
3) What excursions do you have planned from the camp, and what are the qualifications of the staff leading them? Camps will sometimes organize trips that go into a remote part of camp territory or even off camp grounds. These activities can be extraordinarily meaningful for kids, but they increase the probability of a crisis too. Ask if the counselor in charge of the trip is qualified for RTE, or “respond to emergency” situations. If your child faces special medical challenges, such as asthma or diabetes treatment, consider having them sit out more extreme excursions, such as night hikes deep into the woods.
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4) Does the camp plan for disasters and other unexpected dangers? Different areas of the U.S. have varying natural disasters, including earthquakes, brush fires, floods and so forth. The camp should make you aware of any wild animals in the area too.
5) When did you receive your accreditation the American Camp Association? This closing question will not necessarily cover all your bases, but it provides a certain level of protection. The ACA sets American regulations on health, safety, and camp operations best practices. Any camp fails to get accredited by the ACA may be a risk for failing to consider the potential hazards listed above.
In conclusion, summer camp can be a fantastic opportunity for your children. You should consider giving them the opportunity to spend this time with new friends and nature. It is also a good chance to relax for you during the summer or winter breaks. However, you should go through the effort to make sure the camp is make the environment and experience safe and comfortable for your kids.
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