Summer camp is one of those experiences that can be formative for any child. It can give your child the chance to explore new things, develop their independence and maturity, make lifelong friends, and more. Of course, it all comes down to the particular camp you choose.
With all the summer camps in Southern California, how do you know which one is the best fit for your child? Start with these tips to really understand your options.
First and foremost, you need to make sure your child will be safe during their time at camp. Some camp activities may involve risk, and medical emergencies can happen at any time. While you review different camps, read up on each one’s safety precautions.
For instance, make sure you choose a camp that has medical professionals available on a regular basis or around the clock. It’s especially helpful if the other staff members have training in first aid, CPR, and other types of immediate care.
Finally, consider the camp’s location. You may want your child to experience the joy of the outdoors, but you don’t want the camp to be so far away from civilization that emergency vehicles can’t reach it in a hurry. For instance, our camp at Pali Adventures is located just 3 minutes from our local EMS and around 15 minutes from a hospital.
When most people think of summer camp, they think of a general camp that fills campers’ days with a variety of activities like campfires and arts and crafts. While this is one option, many kids are more engaged if the camp is catered to their interests.
This is why we’ve structured Pali Adventures to combine both the traditional camp experience and more specialized topics. Campers can choose from camp specialties like aviation, culinary arts, fashion, or watersports. Campers spend each morning learning and enjoying the specialty of their choice, and each afternoon they choose from over 70 elective activities, many of which are traditional camp activities.
Along with unique evening entertainment, this gives campers a chance to learn more about one of their top interests while also enjoying the same type of camp activities you may have enjoyed as a child.
As we mentioned, we specifically design our Pali Adventures camps to keep campers busy and give them a wide range of activities and subjects throughout each day. There are a few reasons for this.
For one, we have found that overall, campers have a better time at camp when they’re busy and engaged. Staying active helps kids avoid homesickness and allows them to enjoy every day to the fullest, rather than getting bored because they’re spending three hours doing something they aren’t interested in.
The second reason is that we recognize that an overnight summer camp is a chance for kids to experience things they wouldn’t encounter at home. Most families in LA don’t have an archery range or a high ropes course in the backyard, nor do they have laser tag equipment laying around.
By offering 70+ electives for our campers to choose from, our aim is to make each camper’s experience as fulfilling as possible because they can each choose activities that appeal to them.
At any summer camp, the counselors are a huge part of the experience. Kids look up to their counselors and rely on them for guidance and support. The right counselors can bring even the shyest child out of their shell and help them embrace new friendships.
As you look for camps for your child, find out about the counselors the camp hires. What type of a hiring and training program do they go through? What kinds of qualifications do counselors, instructors, and other staff members have?
Keep in mind that numbers matter as well. After all, the best counselors in the world can’t attend to all their campers’ needs if there is one counselor for every 20 campers. Each camp you consider should be able to tell you its counselor-to-camper ratio. For example, our counselor-to-camper ratio at Pali Adventures is better than 1:3, meaning there is more than one counselor for every three campers.
Every parent wants their child to make new friends at camp that they’ll keep for a lifetime. At the same time, you don’t want your child to be restricted to one or two friends because they spent their entire camp experience in the same small group.
Instead, choose a camp that puts campers into different groups for different activities. For example, your child may have a set group of cabinmates that they spend time with at night. Then they have a group of kids who are in the same specialty as them, and they spend their mornings with this group. In the afternoon, they meet other kids during their elective activities.
Mixing groups in this way helps campers to meet as many new kids as possible so they can find the ones who will become lifelong friends.
One of the best parts of a California summer camp, in particular, is that it’s an opportunity for kids who live in the city to experience nature. They spend a period of time in cabins within a woods or on a hillside, connecting with nature in a way they can’t do if they’re surrounded by skyscrapers and sidewalks.
Of course, there is a limit. If a camp is too far “in the wilderness,” it becomes a safety issue because they may not have access to emergency services or have the technology to serve kids with special needs.
The trick is to choose a camp that knows how to merge both. It should give your child a break from their normal environment and a chance to appreciate nature but with the modern amenities that will keep them safe and comfortable.
Choosing a summer camp is a big decision. You want your child to have the most fulfilling experience possible and looking for the criteria above will give you a strong start. Interested in enrolling at Pali Adventures?