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10 Tips to Choose the Perfect Summer Camp or Vacation

January 9, 2006

10 Tips to Choose the Perfect Summer Camp

Tips for Camping Trips

Baltimore MD ­ Choosing the perfect children’s summer camp causes busy parents tremendous anxiety.

As the wife of a pediatrician and mother of eight kids—four of them adopted and several with ADHD—I founded to make choosing the perfect camp as enjoyable as eating S’mores.

Camps have provided our kids with confidence, lasting memories and experiences they can't always get with a gaggle of brothers and sisters around. We have attended over sixty different camps, consulted with hundreds of parents and spent thousands of hours researching programs to create this list.


1. OPEN AND HONEST.   The Camp Director should personally answer all your questions. You are entrusting them with your most valuable possession—your child.

2. PERSONALIZED.   Camp leaders should know your child inside and out BEFORE he or she gets to Camp, and design the camp experience to meet your child’s needs.

3. SMALL.   Many of our kids—especially shy ones or kids with ADHD—get lost in large groups, but feel more connected with 15 or fewer children.

4. BUILD CONFIDENCE.   The best summer camps will provide opportunities for children to show off their strengths and reinforce their gifts and talents.

5. ONE-ON-ONE TIME.   In addition to building confidence and addressing specific issues, personal one-on-one care will make your child feel more at-home.

6. PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITIES.   Kids’ summer camps should provide memorable, hands-on lessons and purposeful activities to build different strengths and challenge your child.

7. DOWN TIME.   Make sure your Camp provides opportunities not only for energetic activity, but contemplation and reflection. Most kids need “down time.”

8. SPECIALTY CAMPS.   The most innovative programs build confidence and foster friendships through specialty camps for kids who share passions for science, building, art, drama, music, writing, sports and many more.

9. HEALTHY FOOD.   Balance those S’mores and brownies with fruit, water and some nutritious meals throughout the week.


10. FOLLOW-UP.   Camp leaders should have special insight after spending a week with your child. Take advantage of this insight after you pick your child up from Camp.

If your Camp achieves all of the above, then you will see significant growth in your child. What is such transformation worth to you? Follow these 10 Tips and you’ll find the perfect children’s summer camp for your child!

For a free newsletter with advice from parents like you, please visit

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By Sara Patterson
Sara Patterson and husband Scott, a pediatrician, are parents of eight children and self-described “Camp-A-Holics.” They founded to provide busy parents with free tips and advice to choose the perfect summer camps. Sara Patterson can be reached at

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Wednesday, April 11, 2012 04:19 PM