The flowers are blooming. The trees are starting to get green leaves. The weather is warmer. My white legs are coming out of hiding.
And it’s time to pick out the kid’s summer camps.
I don’t know about you, but summer camps are a bit of a mixed bag for me. There are definitely pros and cons.
- Pros: They provide a break (for me and the kids), they take a subject and go in-depth, and my kiddos are surrounded by other kids who dig the same thing they do.
- Cons: They can be expensive.
And that one con…is SUCH A BIG CON! We’ve all been there…signed our kiddo up for a camp that was suppose to be amazing, only to discover it was lack-luster at best…and dreaming what we do with that $200 instead. Or the reverse, spending only $200 and having your kiddo rave about it all.the.time. So how do you make sure you think “Best Week Ever” instead of “Money Suck”? Here are some tips.
So…Summer Camp – Best Week Ever or Money Suck?
Here are a few things I look for when picking a summer day camp:
- Who Runs It? Is it a business or organization that has been around and operating camps for a long time? I’m more trusting of a camp or business that has been around for a long time, versus just an upstart, especially when the upstart is expensive. In today’s world, a camp simply couldn’t stay in business for generations if it were unsafe or poorly run.
- The outcome or philosophy? In the end, what will the outcome be at the end of the week? If it focuses on sports, what skills will my kiddo learn? If it focuses on art, what theories will they study and master? Knowing the outcome or philosophy helps me decide if the camp will be a good fit for my kiddo.
- Creating community. Good camps think about how they place kids together to create the most inclusive experience for all. Many times your kiddo is walking into a camp not knowing a soul…if community is important, they will leave with some new friends.
- A well-trained staff. Camps are a great way for teenagers to make some extra cash over the summer, but are they being trained and supervised? Plus, is the camper-to-staffer ratio low – about 10 to 1 for kids ages 8 to 14. The staff should be background-checked, too, with references, an interview, and a criminal-records search.
- Consistent policies. Policy for sick kids? Policy for phone use? Policy for allergies? Just a quick run-down on policies gives me piece of mind.
In the end, as parents, we just want our kiddos to feel special, normal, and have a great time surrounded by other kids “just-like-them”.
But What If Your Kiddo Can’t Attend Regular Camp?
I’m fortunate. My kiddos are pretty normal (or as normal as they can be with having a mama like me). We don’t have special needs or severe allergies or medical issues.
BUT THERE ARE A TON OF KIDDOS WHO DO!
I can’t even imagine how hard it is to find a camp that makes your kiddo feel special, normal, and surrounded by other kids “just-like-them”.
Every kid should feel like a normal kid! Which is why I’m so impressed by the number of unique summer camps (some of which include services provided by Children’s Mercy doctors and staff) around the Kansas City Metro for kiddos with special situations. Following are is just a small list of the camps available. For more information and a complete list, check out the Children’s Mercy Hospital Mom’s Page.
(Click the hyper-link for more information.)
When: June 6 – July 29, 2016 (8am – 5pm)
Where: Kansas City Christian School, Prairie Village, KS
Cost: equivalent of 80 hours of personalized treatment
Attendees: 6 – 14 years old
When: June 5 – 9, 2016
Where: Lake Doniphan, Excelsior Springs, MO
Attendees: 9 – 17 years old
When: June 20 – 23, 2016
Where: Rotary Club Youth Camp Lee’s Summit, MO
Cost: $100/child; scholarships available
Attendees: 7 – 15 years old
When: June 24 – 26, 2016
Where: Location TBD
Attendees: Grades 1 – 6
So MOMS, let’s make this the best summer ever! Whether it be camps, the pool, vacations and more…let shoot for every week making our kiddos feel special, normal, and have a great time surrounded by other kids “just-like-them”.
You can also check out the Children’s Mercy Hospital Mom’s Page for more information about all the camps available.
Disclosure: Children’s Mercy is a partner of RedefinedMom. However, the written remarks and opinions are entirely my own. Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.