Asking All the Right Questions: Choosing the Best Summer Camp Option for Your Child
Summer Camps, U.S.A., an online resource for locating the perfect summer camp program for the youth in your family summarizes available programs in your specific geographical area. Whether the program, sports driven or basic structured fun capitalizing on building self-esteem or focusing on socialization skills, summer camp can be a enjoyable way to enrich your child’s summer experience, but what about the possibility of personal injury while your child is in attendance?
Even with the best supervised programs, accidents happen. According to a recent report by ABC News, more than 30 children die due to accidents every day in the U.S. and for those who survive their injuries still account for 9.2 million emergency medical visits annually.
When researching prospective summer camp programs for your child, the following questions may prove helpful to ensure that your child has a healthy and safe summer camp experience.What Is the Camp’s Mission Statement or Philosophy?
Aside from the basics, such as how long the camp has been operational and perhaps what accreditation it holds, it is important to assess the overall philosophy of the camp. If available, pre-arrange a visit to the camp to determine whether the program is a good fit for your child and whether the program supports your parental goals.How Are Staff Recruited and What Training Programs Are Required?
When meeting with the director or appropriate staff member, inquire if counselors are required to have criminal background checks and, where applicable, have cleared all child-relatable clearances. It is also a good idea to inquire about requirements for first aid training as well.How Many Returning Counselors and Campers Will Be Participating in the Current Program?
It is estimated that between 40 to 60 percent of camp staff return from the previous year. If the percentage is lower, ask why. With regard to campers, a 50 percent return rate is a good indication that campers not only enjoy the program but have no qualms about returning.What Is the Ratio of Counselors to Campers?
If you are researching an overnight camp, acceptbale staff to camper ratios are:
- 1:6 for ages 7 and 8;
- 1:8 for ages 9 to 14; and
- 1:10 for ages 15 to 18.
It is recommended that 80 percent of camp staff must be 18 years or older. Additional staff members must be age 16 with a minimum age of two years older than the campers under their direct supervision.What is the Availability of Medical Staff and Contingency Plan for Emergency Medical Treatment?
Surprisingly, while most states maintain regulations for summer camps, at this time, there are no federal oversight or regulation of camp programs with regard to health and safety. For overnight camp programs, it is recommended that a licensed physician or registered nurse are on site every day. Protocol for emergency medical care should also be outlined and available before registration but it is also important to discuss and alert to the camp director any medical conditions of your child.What Is the Camp’s Daily Program?
This is important as it may help parents determine whether or not the camp will provide your child with the activities they enjoy. It is also suggested that a parent ask how much freedom a child has in making the decision to participate in available activities.How Does the Camp Approach the Need for Discipline or Camper Conflicts?
Ask the director for a list of the program’s rules and regulations as well as the disciplinary protocol. These rules, regulations and disciplinary approach should fall in line with a parent’s overall philosophy.What Type of Transportation is Provided?
Inquire about what types of vehicles the camp operates, how often are they inspected for safety, who is responsible for transporting the children and what training and clearances are required for the drivers.Are References Available?
It is important for parents to request the names and contact information of parents with children within the same age range to gauge the program and their child’s opinion of the camp experience.
By asking these questions, a parent can leave with a better understanding of the camp program under consideration and if the director and staff will provide a safe, healthy and fun atmosphere for their child. If, as a parent, you had thoroughly researched a summer camp for your child but your child has fallen victim to a questionable or negligent personal injury, contact the skilled Monterey County premises liability attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., to begin seeking the compensation you need to help your child.Sources