It is not too early to start thinking of summer camps for our kids. It’s only another month until school ends and then summer vacation is here. Planning now for a fun and productive summer for children is a smart thing to do.
Take the time to research the summer camps in your area, and as in researching anything, it’s good to hear from an expert.
Andrea Banda director of the Elite Sports Clubs’ summer Scamp Program is an expert on camps and offers her advice: “First decide whether your child should be enrolled in a half- or full-day camp. The plus of half-day camps is that children of a young age are able to participate in camp-like scenarios. They will make good friends; plus enjoy tennis, swimming and other sports.”
However, you should choose what suits your family best. Families have different priorities. She mentioned that Elite offers both half- and full-day camps to accommodate parents who need a full-day program or parents who want their young ones to have a camp experience for a couple hours a day.
Many camps in the area offer early childhood enrollment, Banda said, “The youngest age that can enroll in Scamp is 4 years old,” she continued. “They would be able to attend the half-day program. When kids are 5 and have been in a full-day school setting, they can do the full-day program.”
“Camp is a great opportunity for kids to be exposed to a variety of different activities,” she elaborated. “Group games, crafts, theme days, open swim and playground time and sports are a few of the many activities we offer at Elite. For example at Scamp full-day kids will participate in karate lessons taught by our experts and will also have a tennis lesson every day taught by our tennis pros and swimming lessons everyday taught by our aquatics team. This camp offers real lessons that will expose your child to three different life-long sports and then teach them to improve on skills and excel in each one. Children also go on one field trip a session. We also offer one week themed camps.”
When asked if siblings should be sent to different camps or different sessions, Banda responded, “In my experience as a mom of 3, and the director of Scamp for 5 years,” she went on, “I would say separating siblings is best. They can be signed up for the same camp, but I would suggest asking to have them assigned to different groups. Siblings tend to be competitive which can cause arguments in the group that otherwise wouldn’t take place. Also being in the same group can hinder them from branching out and making friends with other kids in their group.”
“Do speak to your children’s counselors to see how your kids are doing. Scamp counselors speak to parents on a regular basis, at drop-off and pick-up times,” she explained. “I suppose they are like teachers for the summer, guiding and teaching the children to behave and treat each other with kindness and respect. Counselors are trained in this and are expected to talk to parents and report positive happenings and also report an injury or if a child had a difficult time at camp that particular day. They make strong connections with the kids in their group each summer and are like a teacher to the kids in their group. If there is an ongoing or more sensitive or pressing issue, the camp director should step in as the principal, if you will, and make phone calls to parents or speak with them at drop-off or pick-up time.”
“I enjoy meeting the parents of the kids that come to camp,” she said. “It is important that they feel confident about sending their child to camp. Parents will see that I am passionate about directing a camp that is safe, organized, and fun-filled while teaching different skills in tennis, swimming, and karate. I would advise parents to voice any concerns and specific needs your child may have while at camp. Ask to tour the camp and see where your child will be spending his or her time. Elite Scamp has an open house before camp starts so parents and children can meet their counselors as well to make the first day drop-off easier.”
Younger toddlers aren’t left out, either. She noted: “We have a program called Skipp for ages three and four. This program is two mornings a week and offers indoor and outdoor play, pool time, organized games and activities, story time, parachute play, and more.”
There are various options, she said: “Specialty camps are themed camps. ‘No Boys Allowed’ is one, for example, that is geared toward girls ages 8 and up. It focuses on self confidence, arts and crafts, health, self care, and just being a girl. Girls will also receive dance lessons from Kennedy Dance Company.”
Learning new and fun things, honing learned skills, or just having good old fashioned fun with your peers is a great way for children to spend all or part of their summer.
For more information on specific camp offerings and to register visit EliteClubs.com/Summer
This article was written by Arlene Becker and previously published in Modern Health and Living, a Milwaukee publication dedicated to health and nutrition that focuses on traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine.