To find the right fit, consider these pointers from the camp pros:
- Match the activities or the camp’s focus to the child’s interests.
- Be sure the camp is age appropriate. Many organizations make this easy for you by stating the age range in the camp material.
- Make sure the camp fits your child’s energy level. “We don’t call it an intensive for no reason,” says Ken Skrzesz of Clear Space Theatre Company’s rigorous arts institute. Even the young actors “hit the ground running” at 8:45 a.m. with physical and vocal warm-ups. They engage in acting, singing and dancing lessons until 4:30 p.m.
- Ask about the counselors’ or instructors’ qualifications. Also ask about the safety precautions, especially if your child is staying overnight. At the YMCA of Delaware locations, the staff is trained in CPR and First Aid.
- Some camps, such as those offered at the Hockessin Athletic Club and OperaDelaware, offer before- and after-camp care—a boon for working parents. There is usually an extra fee.
- If finances are an issue, look into camps that offer scholarships, grants and financial aid. About half the students who attend camp at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts receive scholarships.
- Find out if meals or snacks are included. If so, are they nutritious? Do they meet your child’s needs? The Jewish Community Center’s camp serves kosher snacks, and parents must pack a non-meat lunch.
- Register as early as possible to avoid a rate increase and secure a spot in the camp you want.