Summer camp is often thought of as a place without video games, televisions or computers. However, technology can play an important part in locating a camp for your little adventurer when you set out to explore summer programs on the Internet.
More than 9 million children will attend a summer camp this year and whether your child is 4 or 14, interested in basketball or basket weaving, investigating camp options online can help you find a program that favors your child’s interests and meets your own expectations. With more than 20,000 summer camps in the United States this summer, choosing just one can be overwhelming. And though we can’t promise there won’t be a surprise patch of poison ivy along the trail, online research can minimize the chance of unexpected disappointments and maximize the odds that your child will have a great camp experience.
Set out on the trail
Aren’t sure which direction to go? Get your bearings by starting your search with any of these comprehensive “camp sites,” offering advice and articles as well as extensive camp databases.
The American Camping Association, for instance, is committed to upholding high standards of camp safety, service and opportunities, and their database
highlights more than 2000 accredited camps which must meet as many as 300 standards for health, safety and program quality. Their site at acacamps.com is a great place to find articles for kids and parents, packing tips and pictures of sunny skies and smiling campers.
At milwaukeemoms.com/campfair, you will find all the local camps southeastern Wisconsin offers. You can search by location, age, camp type, price, activities, accreditation and more.
Other good starting sites include kidcamps.com, organized by categories like art, academics and camps for kids with special needs, summercamps.com (check out their 360-degree virtual tour of a featured camp) and campchannel.com, which provides a thorough questionnaire to help you narrowly navigate their site.
Explore the wilderness
If your camper-to-be has set up a tent in your back yard, she may be ready to rough it at an overnight camp. On the other hand, if your scout gets his summer “kicks” by playing soccer, a sports camp may be right up his alley. Considering the interests, age and personality of your camper will help narrow the scope of your camp search.
If your camper isn’t quite ready for sleeping bags, daycamps.net lets you search for summer day camps near you. Then again, if your little athlete favors tennis over tents, check out esportscamps.com, America’s largest sport camp network, featuring a guide to the Nike sports camp programs across the country. Or would backpacking through Spain interest your adventurer? In addition to their database of residential and day camps in the U.S., petersons.com has information on summer experiences abroad.
Pitch your tent
So you’ve chosen a camp, but you can’t decide what to pack. Start with campmor.com, a well-stocked site offering everything from footwear to first aid or campsupplies.com which pairs expert advice with a selection of must-haves including bug spray, water bottles, sunscreen and sleeping bags. And for the fun stuff, bunkline.com features essentials like postcards, photo albums and autograph pillows.
So forget the traditional catalogs, camp fairs and car trip research this year. Log onto the Internet in seconds, have information at your fingertips minutes later and confidently choose a camp where the only “mega bites” they get will be from the mosquitoes.
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