Life Events

Life events pose a unique challenge because each is a new or infrequent occurrence for which many people have little or no prior experience.

When it comes to parenting, you have the knowledge of your own childhood to draw upon. However, try as you might, it is unlikely that today's children will think the same, act the same, and face the same challenges as you.

In these circumstances, a little dose of commonsense advice can help

Here is our advice on these topics.
/ Parenting / Raising Children /

Choosing a Summer Camp
Summer camp is a true joy of childhood. The chance to make new friends, learn new skills, and create treasured memories is irreplaceable. But with more than 12,000 different camps in the United States alone, picking the right camp for your child can be a real challenge. It is a good idea to include your child in the camp decision, since there's a big difference between "going" to camp and being "sent" to camp. For example, discuss whether your child would like to know many of the campers already or if a break from school friends would be welcome.

Begin the camp selection process by deciding on whether you want a camp that will concentrate on developing a specific skill or whether you prefer a variety of activities, many outdoors, from a traditional camp. If you want a specialty camp, check to see how intense the program is, how proficient your child already needs to be, how many hours a day will be spent learning the particular specialty, and what qualifications the instructors have. Some specialty camps also include traditional camping activities, such as water sports and crafts. Many children, particularly younger children, will not enjoy spending too many hours focused on one activity or may want a break from school year activities. Remember that camp can be the one opportunity a child has to learn life long skills such as canoeing that are not usually part of school curriculum.

Decide how long the child should be away at one time. If your child is under 10 years of age or has never been away from home, day camp may be a good way to start the camping experience. Day camps are also generally less expensive than overnight camps. Remember that you will need to add the cost of transportation to the cost of the camp if you are sending your child any distance. Similarly, check to see how long the camping session is. Camps vary from those that last one week to those that require all children attending to sign up for eight weeks. Longer sessions allow children to make more lasting bonds, even at day camps. Also, consider your own vacation plans to make sure the schedules mesh.

Then, ask friends and family about the camps they know of, as word of mouth is the best recommendation. Some very good camps are operated by churches and organizations such as scouting groups. The internet is also a good way to find a camp. Most camps not only have web sites but can also send you videos or DVDs. Visit the camp if you can. If you have any doubts, call the parents of children who have attended. Check to see if the camp is accredited and what kind of training is required of the adult counselors and supervisors.

Find out what facilities the camp has. Some camps are very luxurious, while at others the whole point is to “rough it.” Know what you and your child will be comfortable with when it comes to food, sleeping facilities (i.e. cabins or tents), and bathrooms (i.e.

flush toilets). All camps should have enough facilities so that each camper can get the sufficient time to develop the desired skill -- whether it be canoeing or programming. Find out what, if any, equipment you will need to send with your child.

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