Summer Day Camp FAQs

With all the options in the Tri-State area, selecting a summer camp can seem overwhelming. We asked summer camp expert Jill Tipograph, CEO and founder of Everything Summer, to help us shed light on the process for the younger set. Jill answered our top questions about summer day camps below.

Q: What should I look for in a summer day camp? A: Match the environment to your individual child. Most kids want to attend day camp with a buddy. If the camp is large enough, they can be placed in separate groups. When evaluating different options, consider: · Program length/hours each day. This is especially important for working parents. · General versus specialty focus: (and special needs) · Tuition: (prices for day camps vary greatly).

Q: When should I start looking into summer camps? A: Now! Some camps accept enrollments a year before or offer discounts for early enrollment. Many camps serving the metro New York City area fill up before spring so start early.

Q: What makes one camp different from another? A: There are lots of variables between camps. Some of the things to consider include: · Camp size: (and level of supervision) · Age range: (if you plan on your child attending the camp for a long time, you might also want to inquire about pre-teen CIT programs) · Camp location: (bussing options, length of ride to camp, etc.) · Camp layout: (sunny versus wooded; compact versus sprawling; hilly versus flat) · Program design: The camp should reflect your child’s style, personality and needs. · Structure of a typical day *Amount of swim instruction versus recreation *Range of activities (required versus optional) *Indoor versus outdoor activities/facilities *Lunch and snack options *Rest time (for younger kids) *Transportation options (including closest pick-up) *Extended care (pre- and post-camp); late bus options; supervision (pre- and post-camp) *Parent contact policies (proactive versus reactive, frequency, open visits).

You should review materials on a variety of programs, but consider using an independent professional to help you narrow down all the options.

Q: How do I know if my child is ready for summer camp? A: You should consider your child’s level of independence, social skills, interest in new experiences, ability to listen to others, along with his/her willingness to participate. Another sign of readiness is a child’s boredom with a single activity for a limited time period. In addition, make sure your child can handle the daily timeframe they will be at camp, and the camp’s schedule of activities. Those young children that still require lengthy naps may need a shorter day, or a camp that offers nap time.

–Jill Tipograph, CEO and founder of Everything Summer ( a professional, independent, summer program resource and guidance service for children, teens and their families.