Of course, the big problem arises when several campers are losing things right and left, and all the backpacks look the same, and your child can't seem to identify her own hoodie from another camper who lost his hoodie, too. What's the solution? Label everything!
There's lots of clothing label companies out there, but one of our favorites is Label Daddy because the have peel and stick waterproof name label solutions and they have specific lost and found name label solution for camps.
So when the camp director holds up all the lost and found items in front of all the campers at the end of the day, your child won't be able to say, "that's not mine" anymore...because their name will be right on the label stuck to your camper's shirt or backpack or whatever else they might have lost at camp that day.
Just remember, label everything and all your summer camp lost and found problems will be solved! :)
We want summer 2019 to be your child's best camp experience ever. L.A.'s got a extraordinarily large number of camps to choose from, but just spending a little time on our website will help you find the perfect camp fit for your child.
1. What Kind of Camp are You Looking For? (Figure this out first.)
The first step in your summer camp search should be to identify a list of camps with a program and activity focus that matches the sorts of things your child likes to do.
Just last week, we spoke with a parent who signed her child up for a Los Angeles area sleepaway camp, but her daughter wanted a day camp instead.
Our advice? We strongly suggested the mother follow her daughter's wishes. Ignoring her daughter's preference for a day camp versus a sleepaway program would not only lesson her chances for a good camp experience, it would probably create resistance the very idea of attending camp in the first place.
So the important lesson here is, start by finding the type of camp your child wants, then begin your camp search there.
2. Visit the Camp's Website, then Visit the Camp Itself
Summer camp websites these days are so full of great information and colorful pictures, videos, and virtual tours, it almost seems like you're standing right in the middle of the camp site itself. But you're not!
Gathering online information from camps that interest you is a great idea, but remember, these are only first impressions and the websites are designed to "sell" you on their programs.
If you find a camp you like online, your next step is to reach out to the camp director in person to ask whatever questions you might have -- but don't stop there!
We highly advise visiting the camp in person so you can meet the camp director and his or her staff face to face while taking a live tour of the camp site. (If the camp does not offer personal tours -- which would be unusual, since most typically do -- then attending an Open House is the next best thing. Check out our listings for some upcoming Los Angeles summer camp open house dates and times.
3. Still Impressed After Seeing the Camp in Person? Check References!
After you've met the camp director and camp counselors and visited the camp in person, you might feel somewhat differently (positively or negatively) compared to your initial impressions upon finding the camp online.
Maybe you don't like the camp as much now as you thought you did before. On the other hand, maybe your visit confirmed your initial feelings and now you love it even more. In any case, your trip to the camp was worthwhile because now you're either sure you want to sign up or ready to move on to the next step in your camp search -- something you wouldn't have been able to do with as much confidence had you made your decision site unseen.
Assuming you love it and your child does too, the final step in the process before signing up should be to check references. Ask the camp director for names or two or three past or current camp families who wouldn't mind sharing their impressions of the camp program with you.
If you are impressed by what you hear, now is the time to sign up!
If not, you can either ask to speak with a few more references, or move on to another camp.
There are so many different summer camps in Los Angeles to choose from, even if you don't find one you love right away, keep looking! You are bound to find your child's perfect L.A. summer camp sooner rather than later.
We always advise parents to conduct as much due diligence as possible before making a final decision on where to send their kids to camp.
"Due diligence" takes on many forms, including asking friends, co-workers, past and current camp families, and other people you know for their opinions, referrals, references and recommendations about summer camps they might be familiar with and/or the program(s) you might be considering for your child this summer.
One of the best forms of due diligence, though -- and probably the BEST way to get a really good feel for a particular camp you might be considering -- is by attending an open house hosted by the camp. In fact, it's the next best thing to experiencing an actual day of camp. At an open house, you'll be able to meet camp staff, tour the facility and your child might even get to participate in camp activities!
Bringing your child along to the open house is really important because it will help them become familiar with the environment before their first day of camp this summer. Getting a chance to visit the camp, meet camp counselors, and get a "sneak peak" into how and where they'll be spending their camp days will go a long way to alleviating any fears of the unknown your child might have. Just imagine the sense of security they'll feel having visited camp before, compared to seeing everything for the very first time on their first day if they didn't come to the open house. A pre-camp visit sets up a successful summer experience!
Camps plan their open houses long in advance of the actual event dates. Most Los Angeles summer camps already have their Open Houses scheduled, generally during the months of March, April and May.
It's important to do some advance planning to identify which open houses you want to visit, because many camps have overlapping open house with events taking place on the same day. Many open houses also correspond with camps' Early Bird tuition discounts, so pay attention to that, too. And lastly, some camps require R.S.V.P.'s to their open houses, so make sure to research this as well!
In the end, you need to feel completely comfortable you're choosing the best program for your child in order to ensure a successful camp experience for your child. Now that the Summer Camp Open House season is upon us, have a look at this summer camp open house blog post we created a few months
back. It lists dates and times of various L.A. summer camp Open Houses to help you plan your calendar to attend these important pre-camp events.
In a perfect world, every child who attends camp would absolutely love it and every camper would be a "happy camper." But every summer, parents everywhere may hear their child say the words no parent wants to hear: "I don't like camp and I don't want to go back".
Unfortunately camp is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Every child has different tastes, and a particular camp experience just might not be a good fit for YOUR individual camper. Even campers who are returning to a program they loved in previous summers may find they just aren't enjoying camp as much as they used to.
For this reason, we always suggest parents have a clear understanding every camp's refund policy before signing up. With so many great summer camp programs in Los Angeles, odds are good you'll find a program your child will enjoy very much.
However, as you well know, camp can be expensive.
And, on the-off chance your camper isn't enjoying the experience, you don't want to be stuck in a situation where you'll be out your tuition money if you decide to withdraw.
Every camp you are considering for your child should have a written refund policy, either on their website, in their promotional materials or on the actual camp application. We highly advise familiarizing yourself with the camp's refund policy prior to registering your child to avoid any misunderstandings or financial pain later. A quick conversation with the camp director and a careful review of the camp's registration and refund policies in advance will go a long way later.
Summer Camp Refund Policies Vary Widely
You might be surprised how widely various L.A. summer camps vary in their refund policies. Some are very strict, offering absolutely no refunds whatsoever .
For instance, Fitness by the Sea, a local beach day camp, indicates on its website there are no refunds given once camp starts for any reason. Star Summer Camp seems to have a similar refund policy.
Cali Camp has a unique refund policy for first-time campers. If your child is a first time camper and doesn't enjoy camp after the first day, they will refund your tuition for the unused days less a $50 fee.
Aloha Beach Camp offers a complete refund for campers who may not enjoy camp. If your child doesn't love camp after their first two days, you are eligible for a complete refund.
As you can see, the various refund policies for L.A. summer camps run the gamut. You don't want to simply pay your money and take your chances. Instead, we advise spending a few minutes researching each refund policy for all the different camps you might be considering. This will help you make a wise financial decision just in case the program you choose ends up not being a good match for your child.
Many Camps and Programs Serving the Teenage Market Exhibiting at the L.A. Calabasas Summer Camp Fair
Parents of older kids, especially those with pre-teens and teenagers, often find themselves in a dilemma when trying to find suitable summer camp opportunities for their kids.
Typical 12, 13, or 14 years old kids often think they're "too cool" for camp, and they usually'd just rather stay home and play video games all day instead of participating in safe, fun and organized outdoor summer camp activities.
As a responsible parent, though, you'd rather your kids be outside participating in healthy and worthwhile activities with lots of other kids their age, and maybe you just don't feel comfortable letting your child stay home unsupervised all day while you and your spouse are at work.
Come to the L.A. Camp Fair on Sunday, April 7 at A.C. Stelle Middle School in Calabasas. If you are looking for a great summer program your child will love, this is the solution for you!
Attending the L.A. Camp Fair in Calabasas is like a visiting a "one stop shop" with all the best L.A. summer camps and programs all in one place.
Over 50 camp exhibitors will be on display at the Camp Fair, many of whom specialize in serving the teenage camper market. You'll be able to meet all the camp directors in person, ask questions, and learn about their programs. We encourage you to bring your kids along with you so they can see for themselves all the different programs available to them this summer, and even participate in sample activities at the various Camp Fair booths.
Please note attending the Camp Fair is entirely free, and there's absolutely no obligation to sign up for any camps. It's just a fun, informational event to help you discover the many different programs opportunites out there for your kids this summer.
You can get your free tickets to the Camp Fair here. We hope to see you Sunday, April 7 in Calabasas!
But what if you missed the UCLA and Los Feliz L.A. Camp Fairs? No worries! There's still one more in Calabasas on April 7.
The Calabasas Camp Fair will feature over 50 different summer camp exhibitors, so be sure to attend this free event to meet camp staff, grab free brochures, play games, enjoy free food and activities, and find a great camp for your kids this summer.
Get your free tickets to the L.A. Camp Fair at Calabasas today!
Blog posts by Cora Carter of L.A. Summer Camps.com