How To Find A Summer Program

How To Find A Summer Program
Sending your children to a summer program or camp keeps them active in fun-filled settings. We explore your options.

When planning your children's summer, you give yourself two gifts. The first is engaged, active, happy children. The second gift is the comfort of knowing that you are expanding their knowledge in an informal, supervised learning situation.

When I was growing up, my parents decamped every summer from Montreal to Woodlands, on the shores of Lac Saint Louis about 30 miles west of the city. They rented a cottage across the road from the lake. We took swimming and sailing lessons at the Woodlands Yacht Club and helped with the large garden, which provided vegetables and flowers during the short Canadian summer. It was idyllic and safe. The routine was pleasant and predictable. My parents were not wealthy. In the 1950s, a lower-middle-class family of seven could make summers like the ones I described above happen for a meager cost. Fast forward to the 21st century, that's essentially what the summer camps and summer schools that have sprung up over the past forty years do, namely, to provide an activity-filled day in a safe, well-supervised environment.

The most important caveat when selecting a summer program is to make certain that you understand all the aspects involved. Know everything about the quality of the activities, the supervision, snacks and meals, and all the other details. Assume nothing. Most schools and churches that run summer camps will be happy to answer your questions.

Now, let's look at options available at various age levels.

Elementary grades

Let's assume that your children's day school finishes its academic year in early June. A few days, even a week off, will be a decent break from the daily routine. Then, send your children in first through third grade off to a day camp with a morning session. Sign your fourth through sixth-grade children up for a more extended session ending at approximately 3 p.m. While elementary school children will enjoy all the activities and being with friends new and old, they need some downtime, too. This video shows you some fun that awaits young people at summer camp.

Most private schools and many churches offer day camps. These feature age-appropriate extended learning and enrichment programs combined with sports and arts activities. Ravenscroft, a large PK-12 school in Raleigh, North Carolina, offers extensive summer camps. Use Ravenscroft's camp listings and descriptions to get an idea of the summer activities you might want for your children. Then, look around your area and see what your local private schools offer.

You will find lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, art, robotics, math, cheerleading, chess, and a host of other activities at a well-run, professionally organized summer camp at a private school. Lunch and snacks vary from school to school, so be sure to inquire about those. Does your child have a medical or physical condition that might limit her participation in some activities? Speak to the summer session director as soon as possible to see if the school can accommodate her.

Middle and high school grades

Sending your child to a sleepaway camp is worth considering for middle or high school children. If a younger child is comfortable with being away from home, go for it. Sleepaway camps come in three flavors: traditional, specialty, and special needs. As with day camps, do your due diligence carefully. Your child will be a couple of hours or more away from you, so ensure the camp is well-run, enjoys a good reputation, and is responsive to your communications.

The traditional sleepaway camp offers a wide range of age-appropriate activities, including sports and the arts, designed to make your child's day pass quickly. While the brochures and videos may be helpful for quickly screening a list of camps, I recommend that you visit the camp in person and confirm that everything meets your approval.

Specialty camps are an excellent way to nurture your child's talents and abilities in a setting where everything revolves around his favorite activity. For instance, if she loves tennis, a tennis camp offers only tennis during the daytime. She will receive plenty of coaching, training, drills, and games in the company of her peers, who love the sport as much as she does—nutritious meals and relaxing evening activities throughout the day.

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you will be pleased to know that there are sleepaway camps that offer your child a safe, happy camping experience supervised by experienced staff. You need a vacation, too! This is one guilt-free way of making that happen.

Travel Camps for Teens

Traveling outside the United States has never been more problematic than it is now. Terrorist attacks, transportation strikes, and weather delays are just a few variables a savvy parent has to factor into overseas travel. As a result, I suggest that you use extreme vetting when selecting a teen travel service. Don't take somebody's word for it. Don't believe what you read on social media. Prepare your list of questions specific to the travel and accommodation arrangements. Then speak with the head of the travel service yourself.

Please set up a credit/debit card for your teen and discuss how and when to use it. Use Viber or WhatsApp to communicate with your teen. Arrange for her to contact you daily. That's not being paranoid. It's a convenient suggestion because you may hear or see something your teen might not be aware of online or on television. A quick text alerting her is the intelligent thing to do. Teach your teen always to have a Plan B ready, just like you do while traveling.

Websites such as TravelForTeens will help you find various travel options.

How to find a program near you

The easiest way to find schools offering summer programs is to search for schools on Private School Review. Start by setting the location using your zip code. Then, put the filter for five or ten miles of your location if you are in an urban area. You could look further afield if you live in a rural area. Finally, at the bottom of the screen, select the filter for Summer Programs. The following screenshot shows you which filters to use. Review the search results and identify a few schools which will suit your needs. Their websites will have a link to their summer programs.

Have a wonderful summer!

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview

#privateschools #summerprograms

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