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Summer Camps: Magical and Meaningful Experiences For Kids

HAPPICAMPR

Summer Camps:

Magical & Meaningful Experiences For Kids

KRISTA ANDERSON-HILL, Senior Summer Camp Correspondent 

February 7, 2019

Camp is an opportunity to gain exposure to new activities, friends and role models, all in a safe and nurturing environment. From science to art and nature to sports, there is a camp out there for every kid’s needs, interests and abilities. The benefits of camp are many and allow kids to make lifelong memories and build a great foundation for the new school year ahead.

Confidence

Camp allows kids to try new things and master skills. Kids can tackle a new activity that pushes them outside of their comfort zone or show off a natural gift or ability. Camps are structured to provide kids with multiple opportunities to shine and hear compliments and affirmations about how special they are as a person and what makes them unique. Kids often leave camp with a feelings of pride and self reliance.

Unplug and Build New Friendships

Camp can be a space where kids unplug from technology, engage beyond the screen, slow down and make important face to face connections. Regardless of the theme of the camp, much of camp is focused on building social skills and giving kids a sense of belonging. At camp kids learn and strengthen the building blocks of friendship: how to play, work, relate, get along and celebrate others. Friendships and social connections are just as important to kids success as learning to read and write.

The Need for Play

Camp gives kids the play time their bodies and brains need over the summer break to supercharge learning and encourage creativity, imagination and passion. Play involves trying new things, hands on experiences, movement and connecting with others. When kids play they experience joy, relieve stress and open their minds to learning.

Easing Summer Slide

The typical 10 week summer break often results in kids losing some of the academic skills they learned during the school year; this is what educators refer to as the “Summer Slide”. Summer camps take learning outside of the traditional classroom and help kids stretch their creative and cognitive muscles. Camp engages kids in different types of learning and uses different parts of their brain, all helping to ease Summer Slide and build a strong foundation for the upcoming school year.

Counselors and Mentors

Kids who attend camp are exposed to carefully trained staff whose sole purpose is to mentor and support kids through challenging moments and achievements. Camp counselors are skilled at helping kids identify their strengths and feel valued and accepted. When many kids reflect on their camp experience they say the best thing about camp were the counselors.

It is clear that summer camps can give kids advantages in school and in life. But at the cost of $100 to over $1,000 per week, can most families afford summer camp? Yes!! HappiCampr’s Free/Scholarship Guide is your resource for identifying free camps and camps that provide scholarships and need based financial aid. Summer camp can be an experience for ALL of Austin’s kids.

When Should I Register My Kids for Summer Camp?

HAPPICAMPR

When Should I Register My Kids for Summer Camp?

Chad Bookidis, Cofounder, Dad

October 19, 2018

I know for many of you it seems so strange to start talking about summer when we are barely starting the holidays, but with some summer camps already opening their camp registration, it pays to start planning now. For many families summer brings about a change in your child care needs.

If you decide you need a summer camp for your children, whether it is just a week or two to fill in some gaps or the camps for the entire summer, now is the time to start looking at what options are available for your children. Here is a month by month breakdown of how to plan for your summer:

January: While some camps open registration extra early in December & January, that is not the norm. In January you should be starting to think about what your summer needs will be and doing some general planning. Make some time to sit down as a family and talk about:

  • What days/hours do I need care during the summer?
  • Will we be taking any vacations? For how long?
  • Do I want my children at home doing activities, playing with friends?
  • Do I want them to be in a camp setting with a variety of planned activities?
  • What is our budget for child care over the summer?

February: Several camps open registration February 1st, so February is a great time to start narrowing your camp choices down and really looking at what might interest your kids. Attending a summer camp fair is a great way to see what your child may be interested in and meet the camp’s director and staff and find out more about their programs.

  • Do you want a variety of camps and activities or just have your child attend one location all summer?
  • What types of camps are your children interested in? Dance, STEM, Horses, Art, Music: the options are limitless these days.
  • If you have multiple children that need camps, do they need to go to the same camp or are you OK with having them in different ones? When my kids were younger it worked great to have them at the same place, and certainly made my life easier! Now that they are older, their interests are different and they want to do different things.

Attention Summer! This year we’ll be prepared.

March: Many families see the end of Spring Break as their signal to register for camps, so camps see a higher volume of families signing up during March. Camps can be expensive ($150-$300 per week), so make sure you have thought through your budget and have planned accordingly. Most camps require you to pay the entire fee upfront when you register.

April & May: If you haven’t registered your children for a camp yet, don’t panic! There will still be openings in many programs, but make sure to register as soon as you can to ensure you get the program and weeks you want. If you will be needing a summer nanny, it is a good idea to start your search in mid-April so you have enough time to do all of the interviews and reference checks.

Whether you need full-time summer camp, part-time camp, a full-time summer nanny, or anything in between, now is the time to start making those decisions. Let us know if you have any questions or need help with your search!