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.
Blog posts by Cora Carter of L.A. Summer Camps.com