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Happy Campers

Camp is a big commitment -- two weeks, a big chunk of money, and countless whiny phone calls home if your kid isn't happy with the choice. Our tips?

  • Make sure the camp is focused on a specific activity (or a mix of activities) that your child really likes -- not just something you'd like him to be into.
  • Know your budget restraints -- of course you want your kid to have a great, memorable experience (astronaut camp sounds cool, huh?), but don't break the bank. You've got lots of other summers (and countless family vacations) to plan for.
  • Think about whether your child would be happier delving into one thing intensely (aviation, art, dance, football), or whether he'd prefer a varied mix of daily activities (as you'd find in a traditional camp setting).
  • Know your child's personality and strengths. Are you raising a little brainiac or an adventurous outdoor enthusiast?
  • Know your child's temperament (a better indicator than age) when it comes to overnight camp vs. a day camp. Many kids under 7 or 8 aren't emotionally mature enough for a lengthy stay away from home and you -- but not every 13-year old will be happy with a lengthy overnight stay, either. If you have a homebody on your hands, don't force it.
  • Let your child go with a friend -- if you do opt for an away-from-home adventure, consider having your child's best friend attend the same camp if possible, especially if this is his first camp foray.

Ready to get going? Check out our favorite online sources for all things camp-related -- and get started making the right pick for your child now. http://find.acacamps.org/finding_interest_areas.php http://www.campparents.org