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What to Ask

March 26, 1993|MARYANN HAMMERS

Before settling on a camp, parents should visit while it's in operation and meet with the director. The American Camping Assn. suggests that parents ask the following questions:

What is the director's background? Camp directors should have completed recent in-service training and have administrative camp experience.

What is the camp's philosophy? Does its program promote competition among teams? Or does it foster non-competitive, cooperative learning? How are activities geared to a particular age group or skill level?

What is the ratio of counselors to campers? Depending on the ages of the campers, ratios should range from one staff member for every six campers age 6 to 8 to one staff member for every 10 teen-age campers. For day camps, suggested ratios are one staff member for every eight young campers and one staff member for every 12 teen-age campers.

What is the transportation system? How often are vehicles used? How often are they inspected?

How old are the counselors? Most of them should be over 18; all should be at least two years older than the campers. If swimming is included in activities, are qualified lifeguards on duty at all times?

What percentage of campers return each year? A high proportion of returning campers usually indicates satisfaction with the camp.

How are special needs handled? What provisions and facilities are available for special requirements? Is a nurse on staff? Where is insulin or medication stored? How are children who become ill cared for?

Are references available? Check them out.

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