TOP 10 Characteristics you should look for in a Summer Sports Camp
Here in Arizona families try to escape the heat by traveling away. Honestly, I cannot blame them. The heat here is incredible! But what if you cannot afford to flee the sunshine and heat for 8-12 weeks? Most families can’t and you certainly do not want your kids to be sitting around all summer long. So, what do you do with your kids? What do they want to do all day? Where can they go that it is safe, fun, active, educational AND gives you peace of mind you are doing the right thing? Youth Sports Camp.
Answer: Summer Sports Camp!
Below are my top 10 list of characteristics you should look for to find the BEST summer sports camp for your child. Many factors determine what iss the best youth summer camps and here is our list.
1. ALL-DAY ACTIVITY – Where better can you send your child than to a Summer Sports Camp they will come home from exhausted? I was once confronted by a parent accusing our Sports Camp of exhausting their child to the point of them falling asleep on the way home and they would not wake up for dinner. True Story! I took this accusation as a compliment!
2. Unstructured Play – a Great Summer Sports Camp should offer an opportunity for Unstructured and Structured play. Do not think this is the same thing as unsupervised J! Unstructured play allows children to make decisions on how they are able to enjoy themselves and interact and be socially and physically active without the provided direction of the Coach.
3. Exposure to new sports – Multiple sports being taught/presented is always a good sign of a great Multi-Sport Summer Camp. Proper equipment and teaching techniques should always be used and when combined with great Coaches and a great weekly curriculum, you have the recipe for a very successful camp.
4. Making friends – Summer Sports Camp is a great place to make awesome new friends. Camps should encourage kids to relax, make friends and play together. A camp should have the ability to allow children to talk, play, chill, eat, do crafts and do almost everything together.
5. Digital Disconnecting – Kids at all ages are constantly connected to technology. Summer Sports Camp disconnects them and allows them to use their mind and body to create, be expressive and get the much-needed exercise the digital world does not provide. Sports are real and active.
6. Social Skills – unlike school where most of your day is in a seat listening and learning with maybe one period of active play with others, Summer Sports Camps offer an opportunity to meet new kids and puts you in a constantly changing and adapting environment. Almost 100% of your day is being social, communicating with others to foster good teamwork, camaraderie and collaboration. Sports Camps build social skills as well as physical skills!
7. Independence – Children at a Sports Camp are typically in group situations with Coaches and Counselors. They are there to be guided throughout the day to the different activities. The young players throughout the day are not being told what to do but they are given the options and opportunities to participate as independent young thinkers. Summer Sports Camps should foster and encourage this independence.
8. Strong Coaches – Coaches should be background checked, CPR/First aid certified and trained. This is where doing your homework is important. Coaches should not only be knowledgeable about sports, they should not only love to be around kids, they should be trained on how to work with these children that they will be with ALL DAY, all week or all summer! Find out what the training process is before you enroll.
9. Facility/Space Safety – Many sports camps are being operated out of facilities that are being rented, some are owned and operated. Educating yourself on the space your child will be in all day will enable you to better understand the security measures that are in place insuring the safety of your child. Some facilities have public access the entire day, some will have secure locations that the camp is conducted in. This knowledge is very important.
10. Gain resiliency – There are many firsts for sports camp campers. For many children this is the first time they are away from home, the first time they need to share, first time they are part of a team, first time they are going to be introduced to the concept of winning and losing and the first time they have to figure out how to overcome challenges without their parent. In this Camp environment the players will try new, maybe a little intimidating new things BUT this is also a time to experience and be encouraged to keep trying to overcome these hurdles. Summer Sports Camps are a great opportunity to assist Campers overcome these challenges.
All in all, when making the decision for your Summer Sports Camp there are many things to consider. Not mentioned above are the # of participants, ratio of Coach to student, does the camp provide snacks, lunch etc. So just like we ask our kids to DO THEIR HOMEWORK, I will say the same thing – Do Your Homework, then decide what is best for you and your child! Have the BEST Summer everyone.