Checklist: Questions to ask when evaluating summer camps

Before enrolling your child in a summer camp, find out if it will meet your child’s needs. Use this list of questions to ask the camp about accommodations, staff, and other key information.

Some camps have more experience than others when it comes to kids with learning and thinking differences. If summer camp is a possibility for your child, you’ll want to find out in advance whether a camp will accommodate your child. And, if so, how it plans to meet your child’s needs.

Here are some questions to consider asking when choosing a summer camp.

General questions about the camp

  • Is your camp accredited by the American Camp Association?

  • What type of child is successful at this camp?

  • What are your procedures and rules for keeping campers safe and healthy?

  • Do you interview campers? Do you take anyone, or are you more selective?

  • How many kids attend each year?

  • How many kids leave before camp ends? What are some of the reasons for early departures?

  • Can parents observe their child during the camp day?

  • Are there opportunities for parents to volunteer at camp?

Questions about camp staff

  • What is the staff-to-camper ratio?

  • How does your staff deal with behavior issues? How are kids disciplined?

  • What does your staff do if they see a child being picked on or excluded?

  • Who can my child talk to if there’s a problem with a counselor or with another child?

  • Is there a nurse or someone else on staff to administer medication if needed? Is this done in a confidential way?

  • What kind of training is required for your staff? Are your counselors Red Cross certified?

  • Have there ever been any serious accidents at your camp? If so, how did the staff handle this?

  • Did you fire any camp counselors last year? If so, why?

Questions about accommodations

  • Do you have experience with campers who have my child’s type of learning and thinking differences?

  • What accommodations can I expect the camp to make for my child’s needs?

  • If I provide strategies that have helped my child at home or at school, will your staff use them?

Questions about camp activities

  • Will a child who doesn’t like competitive sports fit in? How about a child who has a lot of energy?

  • Is the schedule highly structured, or do kids have a lot of free choice?

  • What is the balance between indoor and outdoor activities? What does a rainy day schedule look like?

  • Do campers go on field trips? Where do they go? How are they supervised?

Questions about references

  • Can you put me in touch with parents of kids who like this camp?

  • Can you put me in touch with the parent of a child for whom the camp wasn’t a good fit?

  • Can you put me in touch with any parents of campers who have learning and thinking differences?

Knowing the range of options for summer camp can help you find the right fit for your child. After selecting a camp, get tips on how to prepare your child.

For more summer camp tips, check out our summer guide.


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