Over my three decades as a summer camp director, I’ve been asked thousands of questions about summer camp from parents, campers, and young adult counselors. Here are some commonly asked questions parents have when deciding on summer camp.

What’s the best age for overnight summer camp?

You probably want a number here, and if I have to pick, I’ll go with age nine. But my real answer is a bit more complex. When to start sending your child to sleep-away camp is a decision that depends on you, your parenting st‌yle, and your child’s temperament.

Is my child ready for camp?

Every child is different. But you as a parent must be ready to partner with the camp team, providing honest information about your child’s individual needs and being willing to come alongside us as we work to provide your child with the best experience possible. Watch this video for more information.

Should I make my kid go to camp?

Deciding to send your kid to camp for the first time can be scary, and—especially if you’re an anxious parent—it’s easy to come up with a never-ending list of why not to send your kid to camp. The key is to evaluate how both you and your child are feeling about camp: anxious or confident?

Am I (and is my child) emotionally ready for camp?

How does your child adapt to new environments or experiences? How does your child cope with sadness, anger, or disappointment? These are a few of the questions that can help you evaluate the emotional readiness of you and your child. Read more.

How do I choose a camp?

There are resident camps, day camps, specialty camps, and more. Some camps last one week, others a month. To determine which camp is right for you, take some time to think through some of the questions in this article.

Where can I search for an American Camp Association (ACA) accredited Camp?

You can search through ACA accredited camps here. The detailed search engine will help you find camps that fit your criteria, whether you’re looking for a camp within a select location or if there are specific activities you’d like your kid to try.

Why should I select an ACA (American Camp Association) accredited camp?

ACA Accreditation means that your child’s camp cares enough to undergo a thorough peer review of its operation—from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. Camps and ACA form a partnership that promotes growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

What are good questions to ask when selecting a sports camp?

Sometimes it’s hard to know the right questions to ask when selecting a camp, and when it comes to sports camps—which can become especially competitive—it’s important to ask the right questions to be sure your kid ends up in an environment in which they thrive. Listen to this podcast for more information.

How can I afford camp?

There are various scholarships available to help send kids from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to camp. Read more to learn about how to apply for scholarships and what the process looks like.

Is there a camp for my child with special needs?

The short answer: yes! You can find more resources about sending children with special needs to camp here.

Why should you feel okay about sending your child to camp?

Sometimes kids worry that they’ll miss out on what’s happening at home with family or friends during their time at camp. As kids become teenagers, they also may worry that a summer job or internship is a better choice. Read this story on why one camper chose to keep coming back to camp year after year, and why she believes camp has equipped her with the resilience and grit to succeed in college and beyond.

What are some good questions to ask when choosing a camp?

If you’re new to the camp world, you may not know what to ask when researching different programs. This simple list of questions can help guide you on your search.

This post originally appeared on Sunshine Parenting.
Your daily dose of joy and connection
Get the Tinybeans app