The Silicon Valley Voice

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HAPPY SUMMER CAMP HUNTING

While students are getting antsy, counting down the days until school is out, parents may be getting anxious, wondering how to keep them busy, productive and out of trouble for more than two months.

Another concern is the lack of academic experiences. Summer learning loss is an unwelcome reality and teachers often spend the first month of school reteaching and re-familiarizing students with curriculum that was taught the year before. Homeschooling during the summer months is not practical for parents and not appealing to children. So, what can you do to advance your children socially, emotionally and academically over the summer months? Enroll them in a summer camp.

Your child’s idea of a perfect summer includes plenty of friends and new adventures everyday. Your ideal would also include some academic enhancement. Your job now is to find a camp that broadens social skills while reinforcing educational ones.

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Thankfully, there are many in the Bay Area and it should not be difficult to find one that fits your needs. The first step in finding the right summer camp for your kids is to discuss and then research the types of camps that are of interest. Then, check on enrollment availability, dates and times of camp sessions, and costs involved. Once you have gathered this information, you and the kids should visit the camp of choice and ask some questions. Here are my top ten, in no particular order.

  • What is the best way to contact the facility during operational hours? For example, are counselors equipped with cell phones?
  • What is the counselor-to-child ratio?
  • Have the counselors been fingerprinted?
  • Do the counselors have previous experience with this age group?
  • Were the counselors here last year?
  • Does the camp have an emergency plan? For example, a plan for earthquakes, fire, or food poisoning?
  • How is the staff trained? For example, are they certified by the Red Cross? Do they have CPR training?
  • What is your discipline policy?
  • Has there ever been a serious injury or death at the camp?
  • Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association.

For more information about researching a camp’s safety, visit the American Camp Association website, www.acacamps.org.

Summer camps have already started registration, so the time to investigate and choose the best placement for your children is now. Once you have them signed up, you can enjoy the rest of your spring, knowing you have done your due diligence in providing a fun, educational and safe haven for the kids this summer.

Contact Margaret Lavin at elementarydays@gmail.com.

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