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!
Capitol Debate offers summer camps and yearlong online debate programs focused on building students’ communication and critical thinking skills, thus leading to better academic performance at school and opening up career opportunities in their future.
Their summer camp programs include Business Communication Camps, STEM Communication Camps, and Public Speaking and Debate Camps. Through Capitol Debate’s Communication and Debate programs, participants become prepared to give outstanding speeches in classes, excel in interviews, and express themselves confidently in their daily lives.
Not only will Capitol Debate campers and students learn communications skills; they will feel an increase in self-worth, work on critical thinking skills, and improve communication with their peers. Many of Capitol Debate’s former campers have gone on to participate in national debate tournaments and enroll in prestigious universities (UCLA, Stanford, USC, and Harvard to name a few).
Capitol Debate offers various camp dates at more than 35 locations for the 2019 Summer Season, with international camps in Singapore.
Camp representatives from Capitol Debate will be in attendance at the March 9 Camp Fair at UCLA to meet you and answer your questions about their program. Attending the Camp Fair is a great way to discuss and learn about all the various summer program opportunities for your kids this summer. Free tickets are available here. Capitol Debate has a camp program located on the campus of UCLA, so their attendance at the Camp Fair is a perfect match.
Many families we speak with are looking for a religious-based summer camp. Camp Wise is a fun and active Jewish summer day camp at Stephen Wise Temple in Bel Air where preschool through 7th grade campers enjoy swimming in the camp's on-site pool, sports in their gym, and specialty activities such as art, science, cooking, music, and more.
Campers in 1st through 7th grades have weekly field trips, and everyone enjoys special programs such as carnivals, weekly themes and dress-up days, not to mention Rockin' Shabbats!
If a Jewish summer camp interests you, contact Camp Wise for more information for meet their representatives in person at upcoming L.A. Summer Camp Fairs in March and April
The Camp is located at 540 South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020. If you'd like more information, you can meet Camp Super Duper staff and learn about the program at the upcoming March 10 L.A. Camp Fair in Los Feliz where Camp Super Duper and many more camps will be exhibiting their programs.
We're big fans of the YMCA. The "Y" does such great things for kids, and their summer camp programs are no exceptions.
The Culver Palms Family YMCA runs a summer day camp families in the Culver City part of L.A. should check out.
Some of the coolest camps around (in our opinion, anyway! :) are robotics camps for kids. The provide some of the most engaging and educational (not to mention fun!) experiences around.
Rolling Robots, right here in L.A., is one such program for kids ages 5 to 14. It's a Robotics and STEM Summer Camp that offers a wide range of camps, such as Rolling Robots Classic - Robots Rock, Lego Mindstorms (All-time Favorite), VEX IQ and VEX Building & Coding (Getting competition ready), Battle Robots Building, Minecraft 1.0, Digital Design and MOD (Java Coding) - for all Minecraft kids, APP Development, Scratch Coding and Junior Robot Coders.
When we look at summer camps, we always consider the supervision ratio as part of our review. Rolling Robots' 6:1 camper-to-staff ratio sounds pretty good to us!
Rolling Robots' first day of camp for the 2019 season is June 10. They operate 9am to 4pm with half-day, full-day, after-care options. Learn more about this program at RollingRobots.com.
While this blog and website predominantly feature summer camps in Los Angeles, we know families from all over southern California and elsewhere visit our site every day. So we'd be remiss if we didn't share other summer camp resources and information we come across that we feel might be useful to you.
Accordingly, we wanted to let you know about the San Diego Camp Fair and Expo taking Saturday, February 23 at Balboa Park near downtown San Diego.
We felt San Diego's close enough to L.A. where some of our readers might be interested in making the quick drive down south to see what the Camp Fair offers. You can get your free tickets here
Blog posts by Cora Carter of L.A. Summer Camps.com