Things to ask your summer camp

Summer Camp backpack

When you are thinking about summer camp for your child, I encourage you to consider several different programs. Camps are not a one size fits all- but there is a program out there for everyone. Good camps will want the best for your child. Our philosophy at Green River Preserve is to give campers the chance to reconnect with nature, learn their own strengths, and find their inner voice by unplugging from technology. Deciding on the right camp for your family is not a simple task, and as camp directors we want to help! Here are seven things to ask and consider when deciding on camp for your child. For reference, these are Green River Preserve’s answers.

1.Is your camp accredited by the American Camp Association? Yes. ACA is a leading authority in youth development and the organization works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. ACA accredited camps meet up to 300 standards for health, safety, and program quality.

2. How do you select and train your staff members? Our staff is a defining characteristic of our programs. We personally interview candidates to ensure a cohesive team of multi-talented, experienced outdoor leaders and educators, who are certified in wilderness first aid among other things. The staff is carefully selected with regard to maturity, sensitivity, and integrity as role models.  

Our staff goes through extensive training. Both new and return staff go through at least 10 days and up to three weeks of training each year. Everything from behavior management and positive communication skills to conflict resolution and how to pack a backpack is covered. Safety is our highest priority, and we pledge to you we will equip our leaders with the tools necessary to lead our campers successfully and risk free. In addition, training continues throughout the summer. At GRP we value growth and we believe training is a fantastic opportunity to provide our staff with tools to help facilitate this growth.

3. How many staff members are going to know my child’s name? We are an intentionally small camp (only up to 112 campers per session) with a camper to staff ratio of 3 to 1. Each cabin has up to 7 campers and two counselors as well as a mentor staff. Expeditions has up to 12 participants and 3 leaders. Our activities and mentor hikes are also small because we believe more individual attention will provide a more nurturing learning experience for the child.

4. What sets your program apart from all the others? At Green River Preserve we value and respect all community members. We believe our future is dependent on the investment in our children and environment today. Green River Preserve is unlike any traditional overnight camp. At GRP, campers learn from a community where ideas, creativity and discovery are celebrated. Our programs and activities offer quality, intentional, experiential learning opportunities that spark diversity of thought and creativity. We help children foster 21st century life skills like perseverance, curiosity, communication, optimism, creativity, and GRIT. We believe these are the long-term investments that will help set your child and our world up for success.

5. What will my child walk away with after the summer? The research is speaking loud and clear and experts agree that camp is important for the health, well-being, and development of your child. Broken down, here are just a few of the immediate, short term returns: exposure to new experiences like different activities, foods, and people in a safe environment, a technology free time, and ecology knowledge from an experiential learning perspective.

I often hear from parents that their children return home with a better sense of community and respect for one another in the home. Long term, your child will walk away with necessary life skills and lessons that will lead them to be more successful in their adult lives. If you are not convinced, check out this study which concludes the outcomes for young people include being economically self-sufficient, having healthy family and social relationships, and being connected to one’s community. The ACA study above shows that youth programming at camp provides a direct link to these outcomes. Trust me: your children will thank you later.

Looking for more? Check out this blog.

6. What is included in the price of tuition? Food, lodging, laundry, and all camper programming like daily activities, mentor hikes, and evening programs as well as day long group learning projects and special camp-wide events for our longer sessions.

7. What resources will you provide to prepare our family prior to camp? Our website and parent handbook are full of information! Families also will receive email newsletters leading up to camp sharing tips and tricks for success. Our program director also holds a series of YouTube shows specifically targeted for new campers and parents. Topics range from “meet our directors” to “homesickness.” Families are also encouraged to call our office (828.698.8828) or email at any time. We work for you and want this experience to be the best for you and your child.

A special thanks to our partners at Green River Preserve for providing this helpful information about summer camp. Please make sure you check out all 3 posts in this series and visit them online to see about enrolling your child in their program!

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