The search for the perfect camp for your child involves researching factors such as the programs that are offered as well as the location.
While outdoor activities and sports programs are what make summer camp so exciting, you should also keep in mind that the camper-to-staff ratio plays a big role in your child’s enjoyment of their time at camp.
Remember this information regarding ratios at camp in mind so you can ask questions that will help you find the ideal program for your child’s next summer adventure.
Understand the Different Staff Roles
There are many different adult roles at summer camp that all work together to create the ideal environment for your child to learn and thrive.
The camp directors oversee all the camp programs, and they are directly responsible for making sure that every element of your child’s session is implemented with safety and age-appropriateness in mind.
Your child’s camp may also have directors of the different sports programs along with coaches who work on teaching kids the skills they need to succeed in their favorite athletic pursuits.
Finally, camp counselors spend most of the day with the campers in their group, and they even share cabins and meals together.
Know the Recommendations for Ratios
The ideal ratio for campers and staff members varies according to the type of camp programs that are offered as well as any special needs that exist among the campers.
However, you should expect that a quality summer camp has approximately one staff member for every six campers that are between the ages of six to eight, or for every 9 campers that are between nine and 14 years old.
Keep in mind that these are the minimum best practices for ratios, and high-quality summer camps aim to keep their ratios even lower, since more adult involvement helps nurture children’s development.
Improve Safety Standards
Camp programs and the equipment that kids use should always be designed with safety in mind. Yet, adult supervision is one of the best ways to ensure that campers stay safe while they are away from home.
In addition to keeping a low staff to camper ratio, your child’s camp should make sure that every adult on duty is trained in first aid and CPR.
Coaches and other staff members that teach sports or adventure programs should have further training regarding their specialty area.
Promote Positive Role Modeling
While your kid is at camp, they are not just learning skills such as acrobatics for their gymnastics competitions. They are also developing character traits that stay with them for life.
A smaller camp to staff ratio allows for coaches and counselors to pay more attention to the emotional needs of each camper.
For instance, a counselor with only a few kids in their group will quickly notice a conflict and help show the campers how to work it out using positive communication skills.
Small ratios also help kids to feel closer to their cabin counselors so that they know they have someone they can trust to talk to if they feel homesick.
Summer camp is such a flurry of activity and excitement that it is easy to overlook all the serious work that the adults put into making the programs safe and enjoyable for the kids.
This year, make sure that your child’s camp makes keeping a low ratio a priority so that you can know they will get the most out of the program.