Questions for Camp Seekers
Making the Most of Your Tour
If a picture is worth a thousand words, seeing a camp in action is worth a million! Make certain that when you tour a prospective camp you leave with answers to these questions. This will help you to best assess if the camp is a good match for your family:
Who is the director?
Who is in “loco parentis” (in the place of the parent)? What is his/her experience and background? Does this person have skills in communicating effectively with children and in serving as a positive role model?
What is the camp’s philosophy?
Is the camp consistent with your own parenting style? Does the camp concentrate on building life/ personal skills along with providing fun? Is there an awareness around values, such as compassion, citizenship, and integrity?
What is the program emphasis?
Does the structure of the camp day ensure that children have opportunities to explore all activity areas? Is there a progression model, a chance to make more individual choices as the child gets older and knows his/her own preferences?
What is the culture of the camp community?
Is there a sense of belonging, contributing, and caring at the hub of the camp community? Is there a consistency and expectation about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do?
How are counselors hired and screened?
Who interviews the staff? What are the criteria for staff members? How are they screened? Are there background checks in place?
What training do counselors receive?
Are staff trained in safety regulations, emergency procedures and communications, behavior management techniques, child abuse prevention, appropriate staff and camper behavior, and specific protocols for supervision?
What is the level of communication between camp and home?
Does the camp consider themselves partners with parents? Do they place a high importance on clear and frequent communication between camp and home?
What are the desired qualities in camp staff?
Are the qualities of trustworthiness and dependability, along with empathy and caring for children, priorities? Does the staff have the training to motivate positive behavior and the resources to get help from supervisors who are professional educators?
How are drivers trained?
Who drives camp vehicles and how are they trained? Do they possess Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs), and do they practice driving with a camp-designated instructor? Is there a bus counselor on board? Are seat belts mandated by the camp?
Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association? If not, why not?
Accreditation Visitors ask the questions — up to 300 of them — regarding essential health, safety, and program quality issues important to a camp’s overall operation. Compliance with ACA is a parent’s best assurance of the safety and wellbeing of their camper.