Finding the right summer camp for your child

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(May 15, 2014) – Summer camp can be one of the best and most memorable times of a child’s life—but they can also be expensive.

Depending on how long the camp is, and the extent of the activities, prices are often hundreds of dollars for a week.

So, how do you know you’re getting the most for your money?

“Probably the first thing you want to do is ask people where they’ve sent their kids.  That’s a great reference to use for summer camp,” said Tim Maniscalo, CEO of Central Indiana’s Better Business Bureau. “You can also go to the BBB website, and get a lot of information on summer camps.”

Maniscalo said parents should go out and visit prospective camps because it gives them a good understanding of what kind of facilities they have. Those facilities should also include insurance and, preferably, on-site medical capabilities.

At Camp Corral, it’s free. The camp is for children from military families and although any child from a military family is eligible, registration priority is given to children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members.

Whichever camp you choose, once your child goes to camp, follow up with them.

“When they come home, make certain you ask, ‘How did your day go? Was it fun? That type of thing.  We send our child to a couple different summer camps. And we always ask her if it was fun, and would she want to go back next year,” said Maniscalo.

And Sarah, their daughter, did want to go back. She goes to Conner Prairie camps, where they have a huge variety of activities.

Overall, find what is best for your child. Look for features that will help your child thrive, and ask what activities the kids will do on a regular basis.

Consider the caregiver`s education, experience and training as well as the size of the group and setting.

Of course, you should also consider the cost. Do they reimburse you for days your child doesn`t attend or days the facility closes? Is there a refund policy if you have to withdraw your child? Is your deposit refundable?  Are there extra charges for any activities, and are meals and transportation offered?

Some camps can be a little expensive, some are not. Sometimes there are deals for people who may not have the income to go to camp, so you’ll want to ask about possible discounts as well. Finally, don’t forget to ask about all the possible fees and payment deadlines.

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