News & Resources

Visiting Day At Residential Camps

While an overnight camp is a great opportunity for a child to live away from home and gain a sense of independence, many residential summer camps offer parents and other family members the opportunity to visit at camp during the summer, and possibly to spend some time alone as a family away from camp on what is commonly referred to as “Visiting Day”.

Not all camps offer a visiting day, so it is important to contact the camp director to determine if your camp has a such a day and to plan accordingly. If your camp does in fact host a visiting day, it’s a good idea to obtain all the necessary details to make the day go as smoothly as possible and be enjoyable for all parties.

Obtain the date(s) in advance – planning may entail making travel and lodging arrangements in an area which may have limited accommodations given that camps tend to be located in relatively remote areas. You may also find out that you are competing for space at a handful of local motels with parents who have children attending other camps in the region who hold visiting day on the same date.

Obtain a visiting day schedule from camp – most importantly, there will be an official “start time” and an “end time” (it’s important to be on time), but there may also be planned events which allow you to watch or participate with your child in activities at camp. Ask your child if there are any particular events they would really like you to watch.

Will there be meals served – or will parents be responsible for bringing in food? In either case, it helps to be able to plan accordingly.

Are you able to leave camp with your child? – while your child may be eager to show you what they’ve been doing at camp over the summer, they also might be just as excited to leave camp for a little while in order to “return to civilization” … perhaps to enjoy a slice of pizza in town or visit to the local candy store.

What are the camp rules on bringing back food/gifts? – it’s a pretty sure bet that most camps won’t allow “outside food” to remain at camp very long past visiting day, so be sure to find out the particulars of the camp policy and keep this in mind before purchasing what might be in excess of what is allowed. Similarly, there may be rules regarding what other sorts of non-food items might be prohibited or frowned upon.

If you haven’t already found a suitable summer camp, feel free to search or browse the Camp Channel’s directory of summer camps!

Find Sport Camps On The Camp Channel

Search or browse for sport camps on the Camp Channel via a new feature update. We’ve recently changed the title of the program emphasis formerly known as “Athletic Camp” to that of “Sport Camp”. We have found that visitors and camp director’s alike seem to prefer the new terminology pertains to the type of camp which offers youth sports as a primary program emphasis.

Visit our main directory index of sport camps.

Sports camps will also be indexed on each U.S. State or Canadian Province page as well as incorporated into our full interactive camp search.

Please keep in mind that whether you refer to such summer programs as either athletic camps or sports camps, they often vary in terms of the spectrum and scope of sports offered as well as the degree to which any given sport is of a particular focal point. It is often best to get in touch with the camp director to determine the precise nature of any given sports camp.

Tip: Using Maps On Camp Channel

While searching or browsing the Camp Channel’s directory of summer camps, you may come across various maps displayed which are associated with a set of search results or a particular page such as a U.S. State or Canadian Province. You may also notice small colored markers positioned over various locations on such maps. These markers have numbers which correspond to the listing results displayed below the map and allow you to visually discern the locations of some of the camps listed on that page. Click on the link below for an example:

Summer Camps In California

On the California state map displayed on the page above, if you click on any of the numbered markers you will notice a small popup window which contains summary information about the corresponding camp listing to the numbered result which appears in the list of all camps in California. Within the small popup window you may also see multi-media elements such as photo thumbnail images which appear alongside the summary information. Also within the small popup window, there is always a link to the listing’s full record titled “Click Here To View This Camp’s Complete Listing”. By clicking on this link you will be able to view the full record for that particular camp listing.

Please note that not all listings have markers which appear on any given map and that marker numbers corresponding to particular listings will change from page to page and even from search to search. Moreover, not all searches or pages have corresponding maps.

For those camp listings which do reflect a map location, you can access an individual map of their particular location directly from the search results by clicking on the small link titled “Map” directly under the button titled “More info” on the far right of all search results. Likewise, if you’re in the midst of viewing the full listing for any given camp, you can also access an individual map (if present) of their particular location by clicking on the link titled “View Map” which appears on the right hand side of the aqua/blue bar at the top of the listing. Similar to viewing a camp’s individual map directly from the search results, this will invoke a small popup window reflecting the camp’s location; however, since there is only a single location denoted, the marker does not have a number in this case.

Summer Camps and Early Bird Enrollment Rates

While it might be sad news to some that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and winter weather might not release it’s grip for some time, it’s never too early to start planning for summer camp. In fact, making firm arrangements at this time of the year might translate into a bit of a savings on your child’s summer enrollment fees in the form of what’s often referred to as an “Early Bird Discount”.

Many summer camps will offer parents the opportunity to either submit a deposit or payment in full in the months prior to camp in exchange for a lower rate. Typically, there is a “cut off” date or deadline which separates early bird and standard regular season rates. The existence and details of early bird discounts varies from camp to camp, so it’s important to contact your camp director to learn whether such a program exists and if so what are the specific requirements and other details.

Happy New Year From The Camp Channel!

Wishing campers, parents, everyone in the summer camp community / family a very happy and healthy New Year! Hopefully, the summer of 2012 at camps across the United States and the rest of the world will be one of great joy, learning, growth, and an experience to be remembered throughout our lives.

It’s never too early to start planning for the summer. About this time of the year, camp directors become much more immersed in fielding inquiries about summer camp and would be happy to respond to your questions and certainly welcome your interest. Feel free to browse / search the Camp Channel’s directory of summer camps and either call, email, or visit any particular camp’s website for more information about the summer of 2012!

Happy New Year!

Family Camps and Other Summer Camp Program Opportunities

Many summer camps, in particular residential & overnight camps, offer secondary camp programs which either take place just prior to the start of their main camp session(s) or immediately after it’s conclusion and allow for some form family participation. Early to mid June is typically the time slot for such pre-camp programs; however, the exact dates sessions can vary from camp to camp … so it really just depends on the particular schedule of any particular camp.

There are also camps which are dedicated to exclusively offering only “family camp” sessions which might afford a wider range of session opportunities … since they are not operating a kids camp during the heart of the summer. Geography might also play a factor in so far as family camp options which might be available during the course of the year. Generally speaking, family camps in the Western U.S. or areas with more moderate year round climates tend to offer more options throughout the calendar year vs. those camps which are snow bound in the winter … which are often entirely shut down until late spring.

Many family camps will offer three meals a day and provide some form of lodging; however, you might want to inquire upon the specifics of such in order to insure your family’s expectations are in line with what a family camp might offer. In the same light, activities and facilities can vary from camp to camp … so it’s important to find the right environment which is most suitable for your family’s vacation at camp.

On one end the spectrum, some family camps are based upon extensive programming which offers a variety of activities, instruction, and other events which might involve an expectation of a certain level of participation – either individually, or as a member of a group.

On the other end of the spectrum, some family camps are much less program oriented and more of a rental opportunity for a family to enjoy the environment and setting of a camp, while also being afforded the ability to make use of the available facilities on their own schedule as they see fit.

In addition to traditional family camps, there also exist programs to provide an opportunity for parents to accompany their child for a “mini session”. Some camps which are gender specific (i.e. “All Boys” or “All Girls”) might have Father/Son or Mother/Daughter sessions available. Such programs can be a great opportunity for a younger child to be introduced to life at a summer camp in a manner which provides the “safety” of a parent being present while also being exposed to living directly in a summer camp environment.

The lines are sometimes blurred between what might traditionally be referred to as a “Family Camp” (or post camp) and such introductory programs. However, more traditional family camps might be a bit less aligned with the actual core programming of the main summer camp sessions and geared more toward the inclusion of all family members – which may include very young children as well as older adults – who may have a varied set of interests and needs.

Please keep in mind that not all camps offer such programs and those which do provide such offerings can vary greatly among camps. Contacting the Camp Director is the best way to find out!

Financial Assistance Opportunities: Summer Camps

While your child’s summer at camp might truly be nothing short of priceless, it is difficult to escape the fact there are real costs associated with sending your child to summer camp. While most camps try to extend affordable rates and different session offerings in order to provide families various options which might be most in line with a family’s budget, sometimes the reality of the situation might still leave a family a few dollars (or more) short of being able to afford a camp of one’s choice.

If the prospects of sending your child to camp might seem bleak due to financial reasons, don’t give up hope … since you might not be aware of opportunities which exist to be awarded financial assistance. Many camps are in a position to assist in at least pointing you in the “right direction” if they are aware of such opportunities. Sometimes a particular camp might work directly with a specific funding source, or a camp director might simply be aware of the existence of (third party) organizations which might be worth an inquiry. In any case, please understand that not all camps are in a position to offer financial assistance or to provide you with any solid leads. It all really depends upon the specific circumstances pertaining to any given camp. Having said that, you won’t find out until you ask!

Much depends upon the particular camp and whether they offer an established internal program – controlled directly by the camp to provide financial assistance, or in many cases whether a camp is in some sort of partnership with a third party “benefactor” to assist with children/families in need of some level of financial support.

Just as the actual availability of financial assistance can vary greatly from camp to camp, so too can the actual level of assistance provided. Some people might find themselves in the lucky position of having their entire enrollment fee subsidized while others might find some form of a “sliding scale” pay scale used to reduce a parent’s out of pocket expenses based upon the household income level. There are also assistance programs which will donate “matching funds”.

For example, Performing Arts Workshops with seven summer day camp locations in southern California (Studio City, Pasadena, Chatsworth, West L.A., Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo) has recently announced:

Through a generous donation, twenty scholarships at each of the Summer Camp locations are now available. It is the donor’s request that the scholarships have no conditions or prerequisites. These special scholarships have been made available as a matching fund. PAW’s donor, whose wish is to help local children experience the arts this summer, will sponsor half the tuition for up to twenty children at each PAW camp location. Each matching scholarship provides $240 of the tuition when the parent matches the remaining $240. Please call (310) 827-8827 for more info.

Camp Menominee for Boys in Eagle River, Wisconsin makes use of a special fund (Nate Wasserman Fund) to provide “camperships” based upon financial need:

Applicants must be willing to contribute some amount toward the enrollment fee and are asked to provide information about their financial situation which is then submitted to the board which oversees the Nate Wasserman Fund.

The board then decides whether or not the applicant qualifies for assistance based upon financial need. If so, they will determine how much can be awarded based upon the specifics of an applicant’s situation. This amount — which combined with the families’ out-of-pocket contribution — will equal about 2/3 of the total enrollment fee, whereby Camp Menominee will cover the remaining 1/3.

When it’s all said and done, some families who’ve been awarded a “campership” may pay as little as 10% of the regular rate, while others might pay as much as 45% … it varies from case to case. Please call 800-236-2267 for more information.

The particular type of camp or program emphasis can also have be a factor as to the likelihood of there being financial assistance offered. For example, it seems that summer camps who serve individuals with special needs are often in a position to offer financial assistance due to being associated with a much larger “parent entity” which is either a non profit and/or simply an extremely benevolent institution seeking to better the lives of children who might be contending with what could be terminal, life-threatening, or extremely challenging conditions.

Regardless of the type of camp or program you are interested, getting in touch with the camp director is a great step toward uncovering what options might be available for your child and your pocketbook. If financial assistance is not a realistic option at the moment, then it’s possible the camp director might be able to provide you with some program alternatives which might be available & more in line with your budget … as well as guidance for the following summer if the lack of funding is due to an issue related to timing. Just remember, it never hurts to ask!
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Finding A Summer Camp Now Easier With New Features

We’ve recently released a few improvements to the Camp Channel’s layout and appearance which we hope will make it easier for you to find a summer camp for you or your child to attend; or, with respect to finding that perfect summer camp job as a camp counselor!

The following features have been added to the Camp Channel recently:

– the width of the content area on the vast majority of pages was increased by about 30%, allowing for more information to appear on your screen at first glance

– new navigational buttons provide a more user friendly interface

– new font style for clarity

Look for new feature releases as well as more comprehensive functionality improvement releases in the future.

Making Contact With Summer Camps

If you are currently in the process of trying to find the best match in a summer camp, now is a great time to contact camp directors directly and start a dialogue in order to determine if a particular camp is right for you and your child.

Most camp directors will be thrilled to speak with a parent who might be seeking to send their child to camp; however, as a parent it might be easier to use email as an initial point of contact if you are considering a large number of different camps as possible choices.

Using email, you might be able to sift out “deal breaker” information (i.e. cost/budget) in order to zero in on the group of camps which are all at least in the “ballpark” with respect to the criteria spelled out by you and your child.  The Camp Channel’s listings all have forms which allow you to send a camp an email inquiry directly from their listing.

If there are not too many camps on your list or you’re more of a “telephone person”, you can always call the camp office to make initial contact.  One advantage of calling vs. email is that you might get a better “first take” on a director through a verbal conversation – which often conveys a better understanding of a person.

Even though email and telephone calls can be effective tools, it is important to always follow up directly with a camp director; preferably in person, at some point in the process order to better understand and get a feel for the camp director’s overall perspective & other aspects you might believe to be significant.

Some camps offer open house dates for parents to see the facilities and ask questions.  Some will even schedule individualized visits for either you to tour the camp grounds or for a director to come to your home to meet everyone & field questions.  Sometimes directors will deliver a slideshow or video presentation.

Feel free to search or browse for a summer camp on the Camp Channel!

Western Association Of Independent Camps Conference

The Camp Channel would like to thank all of the summer camp directors, camp staff, event organizers, and all attendees of the 2010 Western Association of Summer Camps (WAIC) Conference held this year in Pismo Beach, California.

Not only was the location on the cliffs of the pacific coastline a spectacular setting, it has always been a pleasure to participate as an exhibitor and exchange ideas and experiences regarding summer camps and the internet … this year was no exception.

Moreover, it is always encouraging to witness the high level of professionalism and dedication by the camp directors of WAIC camps who continually seek to improve their respective programs by attending interactive and educational sessions – often presented by experts in their respective fields. Equally impressive is the cooperative spirit which permeates the Western Association Of Independent Camps – including camps who are “technically” considered competitors – in order to cross-pollinate & exchange ideas which as a whole will surely be greater than the sum of it’s parts.

The Camp Channel is looking forward to exhibiting at the WAIC conference in 2011 and is always grateful for the opportunity to participate with such a dedicated organization.