Earlier in the week, I wrote about the many conveniences camps are providing to families today. Here, the list continues.
Camp meals have come a long way from PB&J and bug juice. Catered lunches, healthy snacks, and buffets with hot meal choices give parents the peace of mind that their children are being properly fed. “Our pricing includes meals and snacks, so for a lot of parents, that’s a convenience in that they don’t have to pack a lunch or worry about refrigerating things,” explains VanDerzee.
A focus on physical fitness and healthy eating is encouraged at most camps. Camp Ockanickon, features the specialized program, Activate America.
Swim lessons are generally standard fare where kids learn to swim by Red Cross certified instructors. Most camps offer both instructional swim sessions and recreational periods. In addition, parents can take advantage of additional instruction in swimming, horseback riding, or other programs during after-care programs.
An open visitation policy allows parents the flexibility to watch their kids enjoying camp activities at their convenience. Diamond Ridge encourages relatives to come whenever they want to see their kids in action. “That is something parents really enjoy and take advantage of,” says Bernstein. “They can visit according to their own schedule.”
Elective scheduling lets campers create their own schedules. While some camps are devoted to a single activity, such as soccer, theater, or horseback riding, others offer a range of activities and let the kids choose their favorites. The Sesame/Rockwood Camps in Blue Bell, PA (www.srdaycamps.com) allow campers 8 years and older to pick their own activities.
Communication has taken on a new meaning among camps. Parents are encouraged to call with any question or concern regarding the camp in general or their child specifically whenever they want.
Financial incentives are available, including hiring parents to work in exchange for a discount on camp fees. Parents can drive vans, work in the office, or be counselors, while their children enjoy camp. For Brown, who works as a clerk in the nurse’s office while her 5 and 8 year old children attend camp, “It allows me to see first-hand what an incredible experience my kids are having at camp.”
As co-chair of the annual Community Camp Fair at Tower Hill (www.kidscampquest.com) in Wilmington, DE, Racquel Palma works with more than 100 different camps. “For a parent with a wide diversity of needs, there are a lot of options out there,” she says.