In many cases, teenagers and parents have different views on what they'd like in a summer camp. For a camping experience to be successful, the first step is for both parents and teens to have an in-depth discussion on what type of camping experience they are looking for. If your teen is very social, she may prefer a co-ed camp. Of course there are many other issues to consider as well, such as the type of camp, expenses, and camp policies. Once you and your teen have agreed on what you both want out of a summer camp, you can begin to investigate these other important issues.
- Coed or Same Gender Camps. There are many coed teen summer camps available, and these offer teens a chance to gain some more socialization skills. Co-ed camps may offer teens an opportunity to work in groups on various projects. They may also hold a dance, which in many instances, is the first experience that boys and girls will have to meet and socialize on this level. Most co-ed camps offer separate sleeping areas for boys and girls, and there are probably separate activities available, too. However, in a co-ed teen camp, there are also lots of opportunities for interaction between both genders. Same-gender camps are also an option, so be sure you decide which camp you would rather your child attend beforehand.
- Activities. Some children need camps that offer organized activities, with specific itineraries that keep kids busy all day long. This works especially well for children who may be shy or have difficulty meeting other teens. Look for teen summer camps that focus on specific activities or learning experiences, such as sailing, horseback riding, and boating. Ask to see the camp's daily schedule. You should also inquire if teens are placed into specific groups or activities or are allowed to choose their own partners and/or group members. If your teen is somewhat introverted, he or she will be more comfortable if the camp appoints the members of each group or team.
- Costs. Depending upon the length of stay, a teen summer camp can cost as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as several thousand. Church sponsored camps are generally very economical, but keep in mind that they probably will not last longer than a week, and the activities that are offered may be limited.
- Security and Supervision. One of the most important issues surrounding teen summer camps is the issue of security and supervision. What type of security is offered by the camp? How well are the campers supervised? What is the ratio of teens per counselor? What are the hours of curfew, rules concerning visitations between the opposite sex, and policies on outside visitors? All of these issues must be considered as you begin researching various teen summer camps.
- Safety. Another very important camp issue is safety. How are emergencies handled? Is there a certified nurse on staff? How close is the nearest hospital? Are all staff members certified in CPR and other first aid techniques? Are staff members trained to handle certain medical conditions that campers may have? Does the teen summer camp have an emergency procedure in place?
- Policies. Finally, what type of policies does the camp have in place for cancellations, shorter camp visits due to emergencies, and payment plans? Does the camp offer any type of guarantee? Are there any extra expenses that parents should be aware of? As you begin researching the various teen summer camps that are available, keep all of these points in mind in order to make a well-informed decision.