Choosing a Camp at the Last Minute

School is almost out for summer. Do you regret putting off looking for a summer camp? Don’t worry, there are still some summer camps with availability for your child. And keep in mind that looking for a camp this summer for next year also has many benefits. Here are some tips from the American Camp Association, NY and NJ on how to find a camp at the last minute.

Call the Camp Director

  • If you have a specific camp in mind, call the camp director and ask what sessions are still open and if there is space in your child’s age group.
  • Try to be flexible. Maybe you had the month of July in mind for camp but be open to the second session of camp programs. This may mean changing around vacation plans or trips to see grandparents but the more flexibility you have, the better chance you have of finding the camp you want at the last minute.
  • Even with last minute camp decisions, parents want to make sure they are doing their research and choosing the right camp for their child. Ask the camp director about the camp’s philosophy and program. Does the philosophy of the camp match your families? Does the camp offer a program that is of interest to your child? Do you feel that the camp director is answering all your questions and happy to do so? You are forming a partnership with the camp director so you want to make sure you click with the director and feel comfortable leaving your child in the camp director’s care.

Not sure where to start?

  • You can call the American Camp Association, NY and NJ at 212.391.5208 for free, one-on-one advice in finding a camp. The ACA, NY and NJ’s Camper Placement Specialist can help guide you in your decision and help narrow down the many summer camp choices. Talking to friends and neighbors is also a good way to find out about summer camps. But families should keep in mind that just because a camp is the right fit for your friends’ child, it doesn’t mean it will be the right camp for your child. Take their suggestions but make sure to do your own research. You know your child best.

Summer 2015

  • It’s not too early to be looking for a camp for next summer. Looking this summer gives you the opportunity to go visit camps. Touring camps allows you and your child the chance to see what an actual day at camp will be like and see the lake, pool, bunks and activity areas. Both day and sleepaway camps offer camp tours throughout the summer. A camp tour truly gives families a good feel about whether the camp is the right fit for their child and if you decide to send your child the following summer, he or she will feel part of the decision process.

Looking Early Can Help You Plan Financially for Camp

  • By touring camp the summer before and deciding on a camp almost a year before sending your child, you are able to plan financially for camp. Some camps offer early bird discounts for registering early or payment plans, allowing you to pay for camp over the year. You can also make camp part of birthday presents and holiday gifts over the upcoming year. Families can also inquire about sibling discounts for registering more than one child.