It may seem crazy to start searching for your child's summer camp before winter is even over, but February is when registration begins for many camps in our area.
Camps can fill up fast. Registrations don't seem to be falling off so far this year, despite a difficult economy.
For example, registration at YMCA day and residential camps is “the same or better than last year,” said Robbie Armstrong, a chief operating officer for YMCA of Greater Charlotte.
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Hundreds of camps are listed in our searchable online database.
Here are more tips for picking a summer camp:
Price. This year, parents say price is going to be the biggest concern. If the price listed for a camp on your list is outside your budget, call the camp. Some may negotiate or offer financial assistance. Some offer discounts for multiple children.
Age restrictions. If you have children of dissimilar ages who want to stay together, look for a camp with a wide age range or one that has two programs on the same campus, says Armstrong.
Safety and quality. Make sure the camp has adequate shade or air-conditioned areas where campers can cool off. There should be a nurse or a certified CPR/ first-aid counselor nearby. The independent American Camping Association accredits day and residential camps based on safety and quality of programs. Ask your prospective camp whether it's ACA accredited.
Investigate informational meetings or camp fairs. They are good opportunities to speak with the camp director or staff, Armstrong said.