A great day camp can be right around the corner-literally. The ideal day camp program for your child may be right in your neighborhood. Check with your local YMCA, Jewish Community Center, 4H, or city parks and recreation department for programs that suit your child. A wide variety of programs with many choices are available. From cartooning and playing the guitar to animal care and designing theatre costumes and sets-there is a day camp nearby offering sessions for every interest. Parents can research camps by location, cost, and activities offered, as well as other options at www.CampParents.org. Here are important questions for parents to ask about day camp programs:

Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association?

Is transportation available?

What about extended care before and after camp?

Will the camp provide lunch?

Are campers grouped by age, activity, or both?

Does the price include the full range of activities?

Are parent visits encouraged?

Camps today offer a variety of sessions-including ones for the whole family. Over 25 percent of camps today offer family camp programs. For parents looking for a new way to spend vacation time together with their children this summer, and even do it close to home, family camps offer a great option for parents looking for healthy, positive experiences to share with their families. Parents participate in the same activities as their child would if the child was at camp by him or herself. Everyone in the family-from grandparents to young children-can participate and enjoy the same camp experience together.

Family camp programs have grown over 215 percent in the past 15 years. A major trend has been for camps to offer family sessions with much more programming and many more instructional activities. Responding to accommodate families’ busy schedules, some camps may offer variations such as overnight camping trips, one-day tours, or evening programs.

Family camps also help parents introduce the camp experience to younger children who have yet to experience time away from their parents. A family camp program serves as great training wheels for a future resident camp experience for children.

There’s a camp for every budget. ACA’s family-oriented Web site, www.CampParents.org, includes a searchable database of over 2,400 ACA-Accredited camps, where families can search by many variables, including cost, location, activities, and length of session.

Students can find a rewarding summer job at camp. Every year, an estimated 1.2 million Americans find a job at camp. Although jobs for the coming summer season are filling up, camps are still recruiting staff now. Camp prepares students for their future careers by teaching leadership and team-building. In a summer camp setting, young adults working as counselors have the opportunity to master real-life, problem-solving skills, as well as have a significant and positive influence in the lives of children.

Young adults can find more information on camp jobs at www.ACAcamps.org/jobs, where they can view job listings and post résumés.

Whether it’s a day camp in your neighborhood, a camp experience for the whole family, or a great summer job, camp offers rewarding life experiences for people of all ages. The good news is that there’s still time to take part in a memorable camp experience this summer.


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