is a Sports Camp
Right Sports Camp
Child's the Expert,
in adding your camp
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If your child wants to spend the summer improving
his skills, then a sports camp could be just the answer. You
can find day camps and residential programs for almost any
sport that you name. If your child hopes to make a selective
traveling team or to move up to varsity level, then a summer
at sports camp may help attain that goal. If your child is
an exceptional athlete, sports camps are good for
networking. College coaches often scout for talent at these
programs, and some even run their own sports camps. If your
child is less skilled but has a love for the game, they may
enjoy being at a sports camp surrounded by similar
child's interest, it is likely that you can find a
summer program that explores that interest in
depth. Summer programs explore areas like music,
computers, art, entrepreneurship, photography,
chess, and many others. Those who want to devote
their time to almost any sport can find a program
to fill their days. Some sports camps are even more
narrowly focused, you may find a basketball camp
just for point guards, a softball camp just for
pitchers, or a soccer camp exclusively for
a Sports Camp Is and Isn't
Before you chose to enroll your
child in a sports camp, both of you need to
understand the limited focus of the program.
Whatever sport you choose, both you and your child
need to understand that the day at a sports camp is
build around playing it. Any free time is limited,
and it is generally up to the camper whether he
takes advantage of any of the other facilities,
like a pool or a basketball court, that are located
on the property.
At sports camps, friendships and child
development take a back seat to the sport. Though
participants hang out with each other at night,
making friends is not part of the whole idea of
camp. Supervision is different too, and often less
intense than at a traditional camp. Sports programs
are often held in rented facilities at local
schools or colleges. Campers often stay in
dormitories and may or may not share a room. This
type of program may not be well suited for a camper
with homesickness. Though the counselors will be
sympathetic, a certain level of maturity is
expected. Campers are largely responsible for
participation, they are expected to get themselves
to practice on time, report injuries, choose their
own meals from a cafeteria style dining hall, go to
sleep at curfew, choose which free time activities
to participate in, and be responsible for laundry,
hygiene, and communication home.
At some camps, the level of competition can be
intense. The directors and counselors may be
varsity coaches, college varsity players, or play
on professional teams. They ma have high
expectations for the participants, and the other
campers may also expect a high level of play. You
need to be confident that your child wants to be in
that environment and can handle this type of
the Right Sports Camp
There are several ways to find the
right sports camp. Many methods you would use to
find any camp would work well, such as word of
mouth, the Internet, or camp guides. Other ways to
find a sports camp are more specific. You may look
for flyers or brochures on community, school, or
college bulletin boards, and sports magazines often
carry advertisements for these types of programs.
Another resource may be your child's coach or a
local coach. Varsity coaches at the high school or
college level may either run a program or know one
that they recommend to their players.
To Ask the Director
Many sports camps are
well-established and have been in business for many
years. In addition to the questions you would ask
of traditional overnight camps, about things like
health and safety and living accommodations, you
must also ask more specifically tailored questions.
You will want to ask:
- How long has the camp been in operation? How
long has it been at it's current location?
- If the program is associated with a 'big'
name, such as a professional ball player, how
involved is he or she in the program. Often
these celebrities lend their name to a camp, but
their involvement is limited.
- Who are the coaches? What is their training?
Preferably you are looking for varsity college
coaches with college players as assistants. Ask
how much of the staff is returning from previous
- What is the ratio of instructors to campers?
How are the groups organized? Is there room for
movement to a higher skill level after camp
- How many campers are returning from the
- Does the camp run a complete evaluation of
skills at both the beginning and the end of the
program? Will the camp provide a written
evaluation at the end?
- What are the ages of the campers who attend?
Ask for the number of campers enrolled in your
child's age group.
What is the level of play? Does the camp accept
players at all skill levels or require a tryout?
How is the skill level determined? How many campers
are enrolled at your child's level?
Like any other summer program, you
will want to do a reference check for a sports
program. If you don't know any families who have
used this particular sports camp, then ask the
director for a list. When you call the families,
you will want to know:
- What did the camper like about the
- What did the camper dislike about the
- What did the parents think of the
- Did the camper's skills noticeably
Most sports camps are build around a
five or six day schedule. Campers enroll by the
week, and most attend no more than two weeks in the
season. Some campers choose to attend several
sports camps in the same sport each summer. This
way they learn more from the different experts and
different drills emphasized in each program.
Much Does It Cost?
Residential sports camps generally
cost between 400 and 800 dollars a week, while
sport focused day camps begin at around 200 dollars
a week. Be sure to inquire about any additional
costs. Must you pay more for equipment, uniforms,
videotaping, private lessons?
Special Interest Camps
Whatever your child's interest, it's
a sure bet that there is a summer program dedicated
to it. There are loads of camps for youngsters
interested in music, computers and nature study.
There are also programs for gifted and talented
students, archaeology, history, science, rocketry,
and numerous other options. The value of these
camps is to reinforce and encourage a child's
interest and abilities in a specific subject. At
these camps, children focus on a single subject
without other demands or distractions.
Some special interest camps are more serious
about their particular focus than others. You know
your child and how much time he or she will want to
devote to the particular subject. A serious
musician may not be interested in other aspects of
the program, but a more casual camper that wants to
continue their music studies may want the campfires
and other components of a more traditional camp
program. There are programs to meet the interest of
both types of children.
Finding a program and checking it out is
basically the same process whatever the interest.
The key point is to find a safe and secure
environment in which your child can pursue his
special interests. To find a program to match your
child's interest and level, use the same techniques
that you would use to search for any camp program.
You can consider word of mouth, flyers or brochures
from bulletin boards, the Internet, teachers or
professors, specialty magazines and camp guides.
Your child's teacher may be able to clue you into
summer programs that they find out about from
listings in professional magazines and journals
that they receive.
Though you want to ask the director questions
about the general workings of the camp, you'll also
want to ask questions about the particular focus of
the camp. Essentially, though you'll want to tailor
your questions to the particular focus, you'll want
to know: What will my child study, who will teach
him, what equipment will be used, and how will you
evaluate any progress?
My Child's the Expert, Not Me?
Don't worry if you are not familiar
with a particular subject and don't think that you
can judge the level of the program You can check on
the safety and security of the camp yourself, while
asking others to help you assess the program. You
can ask local experts or teachers to review the
curriculum, or ask your high school or a local
college for help. You may also want to post a
question on an Internet bulletin board or news
group for opinions.