How to Choose a Summer Camp
Creating a Short-list of Camps
Nothing beats a personal recommendation, so you should start to find camps by asking friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. If you are interested in a religious camp you can ask for recommendations at your local place of worship.
Usually, though, it is hard to get a personnel recommendation that meets your family requirements. Instead, you can turn to a camp directory. Camp directories are guides to thousands of camps organized by location and specialty. There are several on the Internet which makes searching quick and easy. For residential camps and travel programs, Allen's Guide provides detailed information and photos. Summer-DayCamps.com lists a tremendous number of day camps organized by telephone area code. If you prefer paging through a book as fat as a telephone directory, you can use Peterson's Summer Opportunities for Kids & Teenagers 2005.
Camp referral services provide another route to generating a short-list of camps. Referral services are contracted by anywhere from about thirty to a couple hundred camps to provide them with customers. Typically their services are free to families, but the camps pay them a commission for each camper. If you really do not know where to begin in your search, a camp referral service might provide you valuable help. Otherwise, you have to be careful that they are not steering you toward their availability instead of meeting your requirements.