From the Director
March Break Camp is the number one complaint I get from working parents when it comes to school holidays. One of our parents recently told me: ‘Just like PA Days, it creeps up on me and then just like that, I have to scramble to find full day care for the kids because I don’t get the time off!” Many parents don’t know what to look for when choosing the right camp or after school program. The advantage of being a parent while running an after-school facility and seasonal camp site is that I get to see both sides. I get to see what I would want as a parent in an after school facility as well as camps and carry out those standard right here. Each year I give evaluations to our parents because its those suggestions that keep us improved.
With March Break Camp just around the corner I thought I would share 3 major things to consider when registering for a March Break Camp based on what our parents have mentioned, and what I look for in while while hiring staff.
1. Safety is always number one. It really is. With over 15 years experience working with kids and youth, what I look for in staff primarily are there credentials and CPR/First Aid has to be present (or we provide that training). Staff need to be cautious and be able to predict situations. In our staff training we use real life examples and our rule is to take action before a situation gets out of control: for example if little Johnny is walking towards the outside door, a staff member needs to predict that he will be OUT the door very soon so they need to stop him. As a parent its wise to ask if counselors are CPR/First Aid trained as well as the staff:camper ratio. You also want to make sure there are senior staff present (adults) rather than just teens watching the kids. If there is a Co-Director onsite, even better to maintain safety procedures and to give a hand in case of an emergency. If your child has an allergy or requires special care, be sure to mention that information and ask if staff is trained to handle the care.
2. Programming is key. It’s so important for kids to learn through different means. It allows them to use their creative mind, take risks and build confidence in different areas. As a parent I would ask about the schedule, the physical aspect of the camp as well as creative. Many parents tell me that their kids usually find other camps they’ve been to ‘boring’ and that CampZone is the first camp they love. As a teacher for over 15 years and a mom of 3, I feel the only reason kids would get bored at camp is because there is not enough in the programming to keep them excited (they are really easy to please). It’s so important for the kids to have a fun-filled day and that programming provides a variety of skills. At CampZone we build future visionary leaders and therefore part of our programming includes learning different skills including sports, art, drama and dance. We invite our parents to see the results and host a Show Case and Sports Banquet at the end of each session. One of our parents last year at camp told me that her son was a hard-core hockey player and he wouldn’t be interested in acting (and wished me good luck getting him on the stage). Turned out, he was not only a hockey star as he was cast the lead of our ‘Andrews Loose Tooth’ skit and proved himself a star on the stage as well! His parents were thrilled at his performance (they invited the whole family!) and he now can say he’s good at both.
3. Do your kids want to leave? This is a great indicator and it happens at CampZone all the time! Our kids don’t want to leave and its a HUGE compliment to us. As a parent when I take my kids to any kind of facility or programming I observe the energy. Don’t overlook friendliness, how considerate staff are with you and your kids, cleanliness and work ethic. It’s so important that my kids feel safe, secure and encouraged to take part. Kids need to be excited about camp and learn new things through having FUN! As a parent, if the camp is right, you will see immediate results – the kids will be so happy they won’t want to leave at the end of the day and be excited to wake up in the morning.
I hope this helped you think about the right camp for your child(ren). For more information on CampZone please visit: www.HeartLC.com/camps