Choosing a Sleep Away Camp

Tips for choosing a summer camp for your child and recommendations of the “best” camps from Park Slope parents and kids.  Also check our summer sleep away camp recommendation section.

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First, if you are considering sleep-away camp, assess your child's needs, and the family's. "Traditional" camps remain the most popular, but each year new specialty options emerge-- from rollerblading camp to scuba camp to language camp. Be sure to consider your child's real interests, session lengths, distance from home and cost.

If you want to start researching on your own, A good starting point is the American Camping Association's website, where you can access a camp planning calendar, browse through camp options by multiple criteria, and check to make sure camps in which you are interested are accredited.

Once you're ready to interview a few, here's a helpful list of questions to ask the directors:

  1. What is the camp's philosophy?
  2. How long have you owned and run the camp?
  3. Where do most of your campers come from?
  4. How do you handle homesickness?
  5. What is the camper/counselor ratio?
  6. How much selection is there in the schedule? How structured is the schedule?
  7. What are the evening activities?
  8. What is the level of competition?
  9. Will my child's special needs be met (i.e. allergies)?
  10. What types of trips are there? How do they travel there?
  11. What is the telephone/email/visiting policy?