By Laurie, Maine Camp Experience Guide
If you have kids nearing sleepaway camp age (ages 7-17) – summer camp tours should be on your radar! Hearing about camps from friends and family is nice, but nothing compares to seeing the camps firsthand. You can only tour summer camps while they’re in session, so NOW is the time to book summer 2014 camp tours for 2015 enrollment. You will be happy you went to see the camps and –if you’re touring camps in Maine – you’ll get to also enjoy the natural beauty, culture, sights and cuisine ubiquitous throughout the state of Maine, America’s “Vacationland.”
What You Want Your Child To Get From Summer Camp:
Ideally, you want to find the camp that will be your child’s summer home for years to come. The place where s/he will unplug, have fun, connect with nature, make new friends, set and achieve goals, enjoy top notch instruction and activities, experience outdoor adventures, learn life skills, gain confidence and independence, experience strong traditions and values, participate in social action programs, and more.
How To Start Summer Camp Planning:
To begin, it’s best to narrow down your choices for camp tours to just a few – between 2-4 camps often works well (too many can be overwhelming). Base your decisions on criteria such as: session length (1-8 weeks); gender (coed, all boys or all girls, brother/sister); type of programming and activities; location; desired rusticity; and cost. To help you with this, consider using resources including: the Maine Camp Guide who provides personal assistance and recommendations by email, phone and live chat, Select-A-Camp, and self-posted testimonials.
Then, speak with directors and ask questions that will help you determine if you think the camp could be a good match for your child and your family. Information to learn includes: the director’s background and philosophy, counselor and camper retention rates, how are staff recruited and trained, what the daily schedule is like, what activities and sports are offered (consider sports and activities your child already knows and likes, as well as those that could be new and of interest); trip experiences, the type of child that best succeeds at their camp, and more. Here’s a list of 20 Question’s to Ask A Summer Camp Director to think about.
Touring Tips At Summer Camps:
Camps have different policies and philosophies about tours. Maine camps provide individual family tours, which is important. You can focus on your own thoughts, experiences and questions without being distracted by other families. The tours will provide you and your kids with the opportunity to see important facilities (cabins, dining hall, medical center, arts and indoor buildings), the waterfront, and land sports. It’ll be the ideal time you can see and learn from the director about where your child will live, learn and grow, and hear about favorite camp traditions. It’s also a great opportunity to observe and talk to campers – your child’s age and older (which is what your child will be in a few years). The camp tours can be integral to determining which camp will be the best fit. Tours also provide your kids with comfort and familiarity for the following summer when they attend as a camper.
Here are some tips to maximize your tour:
1. Limit the number of tours per day (1-2 is ideal)
2. Consider the time of the day and your child’s energy level and attention
3. Dress comfortably and be sure your child (and siblings) are well-fed and hydrated
4. Prepare your questions ahead of time to ask your tour guide; and spend time with the camp director
5. Be sure to see areas of interest to you and your child
Consider The Summer Camps’ Location:
In addition to the camp itself, consider the additional advantages to a camp’s location. For example, at camp in Maine parents and siblings also benefit from the relaxed pace, smell of pine in the air and great vacation experiences during initial tours, as well as on subsequent year’s visiting day weekends and pre-/post-camp. And, there are special offers that make it even better! Currently, through a partnership with JetBlue TrueBlue, families can earn up to 10,000 points toward flights and other vacation getaways by enrolling their child or referring others (so tell some friends!!) to enroll at any of the 33 Maine Camp Experience camps for 2015. (Valid on camp enrollments now through September 1, 2014.)
Read Parents’ Testimonials
It’s always valuable to get insights from parents whose children attend the summer camps you’re considering. Each summer 20,000 kids head to Maine camps for the highest quality summer camp experiences. Families share their experiences in self-posted testimonials, as well as this post from well known lifestyle blogger Amy Selling (luluandlattes) whose child goes to a Maine Camp Experience camp. Now’s the time to book your child’s summer 2014 tours and soon you, too, will be living #ten4two. Summers and Camp Belong in Maine … And So Do You!℠
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful new tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (2-7 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 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.