Take your camp search to the next level!
You’ve checked out the websites, pow-wowed with your Summer 365 Counselor, and narrowed down your list! Now it’s time to get to know the camps better, beyond a paper or screen!
Visiting a camp the year before you plan to send your child allows you to see the camp and campers in action, tour the facilities, and speak to staff and ask questions in person. There is no better way to get a feel for a camp’s culture and philosophy and get your child involved in the decision-making process. Children are so visual, and the opportunity to conceptualize what camp is and see where they will eat, sleep, and live is incredibly helpful.
Additionally, if you you have a child (or parent!) that is nervous or hesitant about going (or sending their child away), bringing them into the conversation and showing them the amazingly cool things going on at camp will definitely get them pumped and build their comfort level! Or, if you are deciding between two or more camps, it will be integral in helping you determine the right fit. We truly believe so much of the final decision is about a gut feeling and following your intuition.
Our Summer 365 insider advice below on what to expect on camp tours and rookie experiences and a downloadable guide to our touring guide!
A chance to see the camp magic in action.
What you need to know:
- Tours offer families a close-up look at the facilities, program, staff, and supervision. You will meet with the camp directors and understand their philosophy while camp is in session.
- Camps begin booking tours as early as late winter / early spring, and some book up surprisingly fast. It’s always a good idea to iron-out plans sooner rather than later to ensure a spot at your preferred time (especially on weekends which are the most popular) and book a hotel if you will be staying overnight.
- Tours run typically about 2 hours long.
- We recommend seeing only 2 camps in a day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
- We believe visiting 2-4 camps is a great sweet spot. It’s always valuable to have a basis of comparison and see variety. Just remember: whether it’s a day or weekend road trip, it’s physically (and sometimes emotionally) exhausting for both parents and children. Don’t overdo it!
- Some camps separate parents and campers for some or most of the visit. If you anticipate this won’t be your child’s speed, it’s not mandatory.
- Ask the camps what your prospective camper should bring on the tour (i.e. bathing suit, towel), as many camps will have your child participate in activities and explore the facilities.
- Many camps offer early enrollment incentives after touring and some camps fill up quicker than others. Keep in touch with your Summer 365 Counselor to discuss a game plan.
A chance to experience the camp magic in action.
What you need to know:
- Many camps offer rookie experiences to give prospective campers a “taste” of camp.
- Some rookie experiences last for just one day while others include an overnight to allow prospective campers to get a feel for an overnight experience.
- In a typical rookie day, parents start the day with their children. Then, children separate for a power-packed day of activities. Parents get a complete tour of the campus, meet the staff, and speak with directors. While the rest of the day unfolds, parents are invited to spend the day at local sites for lunch or activities. In a rookie weekend or extended stay, the camp often provides transportation one way and has parents come for pick up so they can tour camp before returning home with their child.
Tours vs. Rookie Experiences:
If you’re considering a rookie experience, we recommend reserving one for a camp that is a front-runner. Quite often, wherever you select will be your prospective camper’s top choice. If you don’t have one, no problem! Go with regular tours for everything. This way you can compare apples to apples in your search.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Touring camps to choose the best fit for your camper is an important mission! Don’t forget some of these essential steps, items to bring with you, and the right attitude to ensure your entire family is along for the ride. Download our guide to Tour Like a Rockstar!
How can Summer 365 help:
Give us a call to start mapping out your summer road trip! We can discuss a list of camps to hit, recommend routes, and suggest places to stay and restaurants to eat at along the way. Bring the whole family along! You never know what budding campers will get excited about … and as warning to parents, you just might get a nostalgic pang for childhood and wish you could go to camp too!