Choosing a summer camp for your child is an important decision. A good camp offers more than just classes and trips. A good camp gives young people a community of friends, mentors, and support systems that they carry with them beyond the summer months. A great camp sends your camper home with skills they can use in school and throughout their lives.
Assessing the quality of a camp's program means knowing where to look to see exactly what kind of experiences, skills, and growth your camper will come home with at the end of their time away. Below are three key elements to look for to ensure that you choose a program that is right for your child.
Does the camp have a mission statement that is easily available to read? And is this mission statement supported in the materials the camp shares with families? Ghostlight is a theater camp, and doing shows is a huge part of our program. But our overall mission is to support our community of young artists and empower them to be more confident, independent, and self-expressive in everything they do.
Look closely at each camp’s website and literature. Dive into their social media accounts. Read each camp’s Instagram captions to see what focus they give to the stories they are sharing. Is the camp you are looking at seeing beyond the “fun” aspect of camp and highlighting deeper, more meaningful takeaways from their program? Do these takeaways align with your own hopes for your camper? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you’re choosing a good camp.
This may seem obvious, but, again, take a close look at each camp's social media, blog, and brochures. Is their program 100% focused on their campers? We are always surprised how many camps focus their energy on sharing news that doesn't impact their campers' upcoming summer.
When you speak with a recruiter or camp owner, ask them what they are doing in the off-season to deepen their commitment not just to camp, but also to the campers. Are they working with organizations like the American Camp Association and The Summer Camp Society to improve their own skills as camp leaders? Are they participating in safety training or getting certifications in program-specific areas that will benefit the lives of campers this coming summer? Camp leadership needs to be committed to their own learning and growth to effectively aid your child’s learning and growth.
This is where you should look inward. Look beyond the inflatable pool toys, the gorgeous scenery onstage or off, and even the successful alumni. Ask yourself and your camper what you would really like them to take away from their summer. Have these personal goals in mind when speaking with a camp director or reading promotional materials. If there's no indication that your hopes will be addressed in this camp's program, look elsewhere and find a summer camp for kids that will better fit your needs.
We love how much can be done online, and we certainly respect that talking on the phone has become seen as an inescapable sales tool. (We also screen our calls.) But speaking directly with a camp director or asking to connect with a current camp family is the best way to get a feel for what a camp will bring into the lives of your family.
More than once we have been told that Ghostlight wasn’t what a family was looking for. Our standard follow up question is, “Tell us more about what you are hoping your camper will have at camp and take away? What are you looking for you aren’t seeing in our material?”
More often than not, we are able to speak to that family’s dreams and show them a part of our summer camp for kids or community that fits the bill. Sure, sometimes we’re simply not a great fit, but just by having the conversation, we walk away certain we haven’t missed out on a great camper, and the family walks away even more clear about what we have to offer, sometimes with a great recommendation from us about a program their camper might really enjoy.
The staff at our summer camp for kids is always available to speak with you about what you’re hoping for this summer and to share with you the ways we work with families to support their campers' growth and success at Ghostlight.
If you are interested in scheduling a call with us, you can set that up by clicking the link below.