Parents begin sending their children to camp as early as age 3 or 4. While choosing when your child is ready for camp is a personal decision, camps are working harder than ever to make the experience as convenient as possible for the family. From transportation and food, to activities and extended hours, camp today is about more than just swimming and playing.
When Laurie Brown chose a day camp for her children, certain conveniences were a must. Sharing time between Cherry Hill and Margate, NJ, Brown needed the flexibility of having transportation in both cities. The Medford JCC camp (www.jcccampsatmedford.com) in Medford, NJ, was able to meet her needs by providing bus service to both places according to her schedule. Today, beyond a safe environment and abundance of activities, families like the Browns are selecting camps that make life convenient for the whole family.
“We certainly want to make things as convenient as possible for our busy and hectic camp families,” says Steven Bernstein, Camp Director at Diamond Ridge Camps (www.diamondridgecamps.com) in Jamison, PA. “When you’re talking about taking care of other people’s children, safety and supervision are always going to be the most important concern. But when you’re talking about a parent, it’s the customer service, flexibility, and being there for the families when they need you.”
Transportation tops many families’ must-have list. Bus or van service is generally provided to pick kids up and drop them back off at their homes, or a location very close to their homes. Bernstein points out that Diamond Ridge offers door-to-door service with CDL licensed drivers in yellow buses.
Choices in session length and schedule are important as busy schedules often make it difficult to devote four or eight straight weeks to camp. “We offer three separate camps, a day camp, overnight camp for boys, and overnight camp for girls,” says Keith VanDerzee, CEO, YMCA Camp Ockanickon, (www.ycamp.org) in Medford, NJ. “Whatever parents’ needs are for their kids, whether it’s local care and they can come to our day camp, or whether they’d like to try the overnight experience.”
A choice of locations allows families greater flexibility in choosing the most convenient location. The Phillies Baseball Academy (www.philliescamps.com) offers several locations throughout PA, NJ, and DE.
Extended hours are also important when choosing a camp to make life more convenient for camp families. Many camps offer early morning and late afternoon sessions to accommodate parents’ schedules. “The nice thing is that some parents will take advantage of our door-to-door transportation in the morning, and pick up their child at 5:45 in the afternoon, or vice-versa,” points out Bernstein.
Read more on camp amenities in tomorrow’s post.