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How to Choose a Summer Camp

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Evaluating Your Family Needs
There are three main categories of summer camps: day camps, residential camps, and travel programs. While day camps work well for every age of child, residential camps are mostly for children 8-16, and travel camps often are limited to 14 to 18 yearolds. Many parents are starting to combine multiple types of programs over one summer. The first step in finding out which type of program is best for your child is to ask him or her. Children should be involved from the beginning of the process.

For children with special needs such as severe medical conditions or other disabilities, you should ask your local service providers to recommend programs that can meet the child's physical and emotional requirements.

Does your child have special requirements that will not disallow him or her from a mainstream camp but still require special attention. These requirements might include dietary needs (vegetarian, kosher, etc.), medical needs (asthma, allergies, etc.), or behavioral needs (ADHD, extreme shyness, etc.). Some camps are able at accommodating specific needs better than others.

After deciding between day, overnight, and travel options (or a combination of the three), your family should then decide whether you want a traditional camp or a specialty one. Traditional camps include all of the fun arts-n-crafts, sports, songs, and camp fires, etc. that most people associate with camp. Traditional camps have a wide-range of religious options - affiliated with one particular religion, multi-denominational, provide access to religious facilities, or not incorporate religion at all into the program.

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