SUMMERTIME NEARS: Here's how to pick the perfect summer camp for your kids
Summer is less than four months, Krystal Simon, a mother of three says now is the time to look for the perfect summer camp
“What is a way for them to grow? To be a better version of themselves,” Simon said.
A Google search reveals many summer camps. The question to ask, is this a good fit for your child?
“You’re trusting them with one of your greatest loves. Fundamentally for me, number one, are they going to be safe?” Simon said.
The Better Business Bureau advises parents to spend time researching summer camps.
“Really looking for those locations that have a good website,” Kelly Keim, the District Director of School Related Services for the YMCA, said.
When researching camps, thoroughly look over the website. Read reviews online, and on social media. Look at the pictures, activities offered, and weekly and daily schedules. Align your camp with your child’s interest.
Andrea Harp, the Director of Marketing for Camp Barnabas, said most negative experiences with camps are from when the activities don’t align with your child’s interests.
“I think every parent has a gut feeling about what is right and good for your kid,” Harp said.
Call the camp staff before signing your kiddos up, ask a lot of questions.
“If you’re not getting the answers that you feel are right… then you gotta listen to your gut as a parent,” Kain said.
Find out the qualifications of the staff. What was their training, background experiences. Find out if there are medical staff on board.
If possible, visit the camp location. See what the facilities are like and what amenities are offered.
Keim said a red flag when picking your camp, would be if the staff were closed off, and not willing to answer questions or allow you to visit the site’s location.
Church camps, YMCA summer programs, and even Springfield Public schools all offer a wide range of summer activities.
If you are torn in which direction to go Simon recommends talking with other parents.
Learn about other’s experiences when picking camps.
“If the reputation of the camp isn’t strong, I wouldn’t send my kid there,” Simon said.
A few local camps:
Camp Barnabas is a camp for those with special needs. A unique feature of this camp, is siblings of someone with special needs are also welcome to attend. Camp Barnabas has been running for 25 years and has served nearly one hundred thousand campers and missionaries. The camp matches campers with a counselor so they get a one on one experience. For more information click here: https://www.campbarnabas.org/campers/
The YMCA also offers a wide variety of summer camps, such as Camp Wakonda. These camps have been running for over 100 years, and provide an enriching and fun experience. They offer an abundance of activities from hiking, canoeing, field games, and much more. Campers choose their three favorite activities which they will attend Monday through Friday. The well-trained staff will help campers improve their skills. For more information click here: https://www.campwakonda.org/summercamp
Bass Pro Shops also offer their own summer programs which encourages kids to get outdoors. For more information click here https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/family-summer-event
Springfield-Greene County Park Board offers programs as well during the summer. Click here for more details https://www.parkboard.org/363/Camps
Ozark also offers summer camps through The OC. These camps offer fun physical and mental activities. They run Spring Break Camps. For more information of camp schedules and registration, click here : https://ozarkmissouri.com/97/Community-Center