How to choose the right summer camp

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Summertime is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about enrolling your child in summer camp.

Central Pennsylvania has a lot of options for sports, faith-based and recreational camps. There is also an extensive list of camps for children with disabilities. But choosing the right one can be challenging.

Experts say if your child is 18 months to 5 years old, your best bet is summer daycare. Children five years and older can go to a traditional summer camp, and kids 7 and up can stay nights.

When choosing the right summer camp for your child, ask these questions:
1) What is the staff to camper ratio? The lower the better.
2) What does the child do if it rains?
3) How do counselors handle discipline or bullies?
4) What is the camp’s policy for dispensing medication?
5) Does the camp have a before or after hours program for parents that work?
6) How often are the children taken off premises?

Central Penn Parent magazine editor Leslie Penkunas said the big concern with sleep-away camps is homesickness. As a parent, you can help to curb the child’s anxiety by packing them a favorite blanket or a stuffed animal.

It’s also helpful for kids to get letters from home. In some cases, your best option might be to write multiple letters ahead of time and have a counselor distribute them over several days.

Penkunas said the camp experience can develop your child’s leadership skills, independence and sense of community. Central Penn Parent magazine wrote an extensive 2017 Summer Camp Guide with a list of camps in Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster.

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