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Summer Camps: What to Ask Before Sending Them Off

This post has been sponsored and written by Cooper Fitness Center to bring you valuable information about Summer Camps. All opinions are  supported by Dallas Moms Blog. 

Summer is quickly approaching, along with the task of planning your child’s summer schedule. Sending a child off to a day camp can be exciting but also overwhelming. Camp is a great way for kids to step outside of the academic world and explore nature and work on social skills through sports, crafts and activities. Choosing the right camp for your child can be a game-changer in your child’s maturation, resiliency, social development and opportunity to experience autonomy. Meredith Rosson, Assistant General Manager of Cooper Fitness Center over Cooper Youth Programs, shares important questions to ask before sending your child off to summer camp. Do not be afraid to ask the following questions to ensure you are sending your child to a camp that will meet your needs, goals and expectations.

6 Questions to Ask Before Sending Your Child Off to Summer Camp

IMG_15721. What is the camper-to-staff ratio? The structure of the camp dictates the ratio and certain activities require smaller ratios, but a great rule of thumb is 12:1. Ratios are important for safety and make sure your child receives the attention needed from a “super cool counselor” to grow and learn at camp.

2. How is the staff screened and trained? Find out the typical ages, experience and background of the camp director, counselors and support staff. Are there male and female counselors assigned to all ages? Ask if both criminal background checks and sex offender list searches are conducted prior to hiring staff. What are the qualifications to be hired? All counselors should go through training that includes emergency procedures (medical and weather), safety regulations, how to handle behavioral problems and communicating with parents and campers.

IMG_10783. What is the camp’s mission? What are the rules, and how does camp handle disciplining? Knowing the camp’s mission is important to understanding the experience your child will have and setting an expectation that should be met. Establish an open dialogue with camp administration, and let them know of any shortcomings so they can improve and grow.

Camp is the ideal opportunity to discuss rules with your child and why they matter. Camp behavior expectations should be made known to both the campers and parents prior to camp. I tell my counselors that “children are humans in progress”—they are going to make mistakes even if they have been told expectations for their behavior. These mistakes are teachable moments for us. The best thing you can do as a parent is review the rules before camp with your child so they know that you and the camp staff are working together.

4. What does the camp practice for sun and water safety? While swimming and water activities are camp favorites, they can also be the most dangerous activities at camp. Consider the following questions about sun and water precautions:

  • What are the pool rules?
  • Is there a swim test your child must pass before swimming? Can floatation devices be used if your child doesn’t pass the swim test?
  • How often do camps apply or encourage campers to reapply sunscreen? To help protect campers’ skin, camps should build in times to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  • Is a lifeguard always on duty?
  • What are the ratios of children to adults in the pool?
    • For kids under the age of 8, I recommend no more than 6:1 in the water. 
    • For children ages 8+, I recommend no more than 10:1 in the water.  

IMG_10125. How can you prepare your child for the camp? To prepare your child for camp and get him/her excited, share the camp’s daily schedule, counselors’ bios and camp videos or photos to familiarize your child with the environment. Plus talking about camp will get them EXCITED about this adventure! Take a tour of camp and meet the counselors in advance, if offered, to give you and your child a level of comfort before camp begins. Teach your child the responsibility of packing by printing the camp’s packing list and either helping your child to pack by checking off items with them, or allowing them to take the initiative of packing first with a parent double-checking their efforts when they are done.

6. How does the camp communicate before and during camp? Communication is key! Most camps will email parents in advance to share what is to be expected in a typical day at camp. During day camp, parents should be informed of their child’s successes, behavioral concerns, injuries and challenges. Depending upon the nature of the camp, this might be communicated in an email, phone call or verbally at pick-up.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about day camp options at Cooper Fitness Center (and the added bonus for parents!), visit their website or request more information using their online form.

Find Cooper Fitness Center on Facebook & find Cooper Aerobics on Facebook & Twitter.

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Meredith Rosson_6786_2013_5x7Meredith Rosson is the Assistant General Manager of Cooper Fitness Center. Meredith studied Exercise Physiology at University of Texas at Austin and has played an integral role in developing the Cooper Youth Programs since 2006.

Download the full Youth Programs Guide and register online at cooperyouth.com/Dallas.

 

**This post has been sponsored by Cooper Fitness Center to bring you information about summer camps. All opinions are 100% our own!

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