Y Summer Camps Support Area Families - Tips for Choosing the Right Camp
With summer vacation inching closer, now is the time that many families are exploring enriching summer camp opportunities for their children. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming deciding which camp best suits your child – and budget. To assist parents in making this decision and providing the best experience possible, The Community YMCA has put together helpful tips.
“The Y is committed to youth development and has been providing an array of camp experiences for children for over 40 years. We know that summer is an importance time for children to have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Summer camps provide enriching experiences that foster independence, build self-esteem and create life-long friendships and memories,” said Stacey Lastella, Vice President of Camping & Outreach, The Community YMCA.
The Y recommends the following:
Do your research. Talk to other parents and your child’s school. Get recommendations. Go online and check camp reviews. Attend camp fairs and open houses.
What kind of camp do you want? Just like each child is unique, so is each camp. Does the camp’s philosophy match your own? How does the camp approach learning? Do they have provisions for special needs children? Do they offer flexible schedules to meet your needs – half day, half week or choose your week options?
What do you want your child to learn/benefit? Consider what kind of experience you want your child to have. Do you want it to be fun and full of adventure or do you want it to be focused on learning new skills? Do you want it to be arts based or sports based? At the Y, we offer a wide selection from arts to outdoor activities.
What does your child want? It is important to take into account your child’s personality and choose a camp that has programs that will benefit and interest them. Involve your child in the decision-making process and tour the camps together before making a final decision. This will help to give them ownership and relieve any anxiety they may feel.
Be safe with your choice of camp. Make sure your camp is a licensed by the State of New Jersey and follows a strict set of safety and program guidelines. Ask about the training and education of the camp staff. Do they have a high staff return rate? Find out how the camp addresses behavioral and disciplinary issues.
Need financial assistance? Sending your child to summer camp need not be expensive. With today’s diversity of camps, there will be one that will suit your budget. Some camps offer a discount if you register early. Others offer partial or full scholarships. Y camps offer financial assistance, as well as flexible payment plans.
Locally, The Community YMCA offers a number of summer camp options for children age 2 ½ to 15 throughout Monmouth County including:
- Traditional outdoor day camps at Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro and Camp Zehnder in Wall
- Summer fun camps with indoor and outdoor sports, games and swimming at the Y’s Family Health & Wellness Center in Red Bank
- Specialty arts camps in Hazlet, Red Bank and Rumson
- Summer Daze enrichment camps in Hazlet, Matawan and Middletown
- Preschool summer camp in Hazlet, Matawan and Middletown
Y camps offer flexible hours to meet family needs, with half-day and half-week programs and extended care hours. Options are also available for children with special needs, and transportation is available at convenient locations throughout Monmouth County. Join the Y for an Open House at Healthy Kids Day, Saturday, April 28, at Camp Arrowhead, 12-3 p.m., Camp Zehnder, 9 a.m.-noon, Red Bank Family Health & Wellness Center, 3-5 p.m., Hillside Community Center, 9-11 a.m., Hazlet Child Achievement Center, 11-1 p.m., and Matawan Child Achievement Center, 1-3 p.m.
Summer camps begin June 25. For more information or to register, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org/SummerCamps, e-mail SummerFun@cymca.org or call 732.671.5505, ext. 15.