What to Look for in a Sleepaway Camp
By: Fernando Pages Ruiz
For most parents, leaving kids at the mercy of total strangers makes sleepaway camp a thorny proposition. Sure, the kids might gain a little independence and maturity, but who's going to watch after them as closely as you? Good question, and good reason to check any camp thoroughly before sending your kids.
- Ask around: Parents of other ADD kids can provide recommendations.
- Drop by: Visit a camp with your child to inspect the premises and get a feel for the staff.
- Interview the staff: Find out what training they have for dealing with ADD.
- Interview the director: See if his educational philosophy is in sync with your parenting philosophy.
- Get the numbers: ADD kids require a higher ratio of counselors to campers, preferably six or fewer kids to each counselor.
- Ask about turnover: How many counselors come back every year? Look for 60 percent or more.
- Check the facilities: Do the sleeping quarters look comfortable and clean? What's the plan for nighttime security?
- Check with the local health department: Find out if the camp has a good health and safety record.
- Look at the menu: Do the meals look appetizing and healthful? Does a nutritionist select them?
- Contact other parents: Every camp has a few gushing testimonials. Ask for a random call list of recent attendees and contact them.
- Follow your intuition: If anything "feels" out of place, dig deeper.
For more camping advice, visit us on the web at additudemag.com
Fernando Pages Ruiz Article excerpts reprinted with permission from the March/April 2002 issue of ADDitude Magazine