by Laurie, the Maine Camp Experience Campcierge™
Over the past five years as the Maine Camp Experience Campcierge™, I’ve worked with hundreds of families from across the US and abroad to help parents find the right camp for their kid. In working with and for this community of 30+ incredible camps, I’ve been asked many questions along the way by prospective camp parents. One question that stands out is … “But which is the BEST camp?!”
To that I must reply, “the BEST camp is different for each person.” This is not a one size fits all situation and therefore it’s important to do the research to make the best match. While I truly love each member camp equally, some are “better” than others when it comes to which camp is “best” for each child.
Questions* I ask/factors to consider include:
- Desired session length (for first year; in ensuing years)
- Preference for coed or single gender camp
- Type of programming (more structured, more elective, or combination) and activities
- Overall camp culture/philosophy
- Level of rusticity
- Uniform or not
*Parents don’t need to know the answer to every question at the start. But knowing answers to a few will make it easier to focus the search and narrow down to a list of camps to consider.
How Will I Know/How Will I Decide?
Another question I’m often asked is, “How will I know?” or “How will I decide?” To this I say … for some, choosing a camp is like finding a wedding dress – you just know it’s “the one.” For others, it’s more like finding a house – there are some factors you like from a few different options. The best way to decide then is to either pick the camp with the greatest number of factors you prefer OR decide which factor matters most and which camp best delivers on that factor.
How Much & When Should I Involve My Child?
Many parents ask how much and when they should involve their child in the camp selection process. My feeling is that while parents should make the final decision, it is very smart and useful to involve your child in the process – once you get to a place that you are comfortable with the options. Having kids involved gets them excited to go to camp and may lessen any nervousness they may be feeling. It’s great if families can tour the summer before – nothing beats getting to see the camp firsthand while they are in session. However, many families also successfully choose camps based on conversations and meetings with directors.
Alone or with a Friend?
Some parents consider the camp that their relatives, friends, or neighbors’ kids attend. I think this can be a nice bond and connection; caveat: if it’s the right camp for your child (see factor q’s above). While it can seem lonely to “go at it alone” … many campers are in the same boat and camp staff are trained to quickly get kids acclimated, meeting each other, and having fun together. Ideally, in the right camp environment, your camper will thrive and have a bunch of new friends in a very short time.
While no crystal ball can predict how the first overnight camp summer will go, asking the right questions can help parents find the BEST camp for their child/ren.
For answers to more camp selection questions and personalized camp guidance, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.