The range and type of summer camps available for our children offer many experiences and learning opportunities. Camps give our children a chance to make new friends, try new things, and gain a greater sense of independence.
With all the choices available, how do you pick the one that will provide the best experience for your child? Here are a few suggestions on narrowing down your options and finding a camp that will stimulate as well as be a fun experience for your child.
What are Your Expectations?
Start by asking “What is it that you want your child to gain through their camp experience?” Are you looking for an outdoor activity based camp, an academic camp, sports camp, or a combination of different activities?
The goal is to get kids excited by finding programs that speak to their current interests. Talking with your children about their interests, along with your understanding of their abilities, will allow you to find a camp you both will love.
Pick the Type of Camp
Once you know what you are looking for in a camp; you can select the type of camp most tailored to your child’s interests.
Traditional: These camps offer day and overnight programs that build self-confidence and character in a traditional outdoor setting. Camp Tecumseh is a great example of this type of camp in our area.
Academic: Academic camps give students the chance to focus on one particular area of interest or skill and develop it over the length of the camp session. These can include math, languages, computer science, photography, theater and others. With Purdue University convenient to our area, they offer a wide range of academic topics.
Art: In these camps children can focus on painting, drawing, or the visual arts, while some camps offer computer graphics and 3D printing.
Adventure: Similar to traditional outdoor camps, adventure camps are geared around activities tailored to a specific expedition or learning experience.
Athletic: You name the sport and there is probably a camp for it. These camps provide an opportunity to gain new skills and tactical understanding of your child’s favorite sport.
Special Needs: These camps create a summer camp environment for children who, due to physical, mental, or emotional challenges, might not have the option to attend typical summer camps or activities. These camps create an environment that is comfortable and tailored to the campers’ needs.
Is your Child Ready for an Overnight Camp?
For kids not quite ready to spend the night in an unfamiliar setting, day camps can provide the opportunity for kids and teens to socialize, learn new skills, or play sports, while coming home each evening.
Overnight camps give participants, who are comfortable being away from home for longer periods of time, a taste of independence in a supervised setting.
Opportunity to Check Out Colleges
For teens and parents thinking about college choices, many universities offer academic, sports, arts and technology sessions on their campuses. Campers use university facilities, eat in dining halls, and stay in the school’s dorms. Teen students get the chance to explore a college campus that they may aspire to attend before applying or committing.
Learn All You Can
There are a number of ways to learn more about camps. Attend a local camp fair, browse websites, take a tour of the camp facilities and read customer reviews.
Perhaps your best source of information is from other parents and their suggestions and knowledge about camps you are looking at for your kids. Attending camp with some of their friends can be a big plus.
List of Local Camps
Purdue University’s Human Resources group has compiled a list of summer camp options for the Greater Lafayette area. Although Purdue does not endorse any of these organizations, the work they have done to identify these camps provides parents with a wide variety of choices. They recommend that parents contact providers directly to confirm location, programs, and rate information.
Regardless of the type of summer camp a child attends, the goal is for each child to learn real life skills, bolster their self-esteem and learn about being part of a larger community. Most of all we hope they are creating memories that will last a life time.