To tour or not to tour? That is the question.
Your friends in NY, NJ, PA and MA spend the summer before they send their kids to camp visiting a series of pre-selected camps. They pack up the car with provisions for two days and take the kids to camps within 4 hours of driving. Which camp will be their future summer home?? It is a natural course of business.
But alas, most of my readers are from the South and/or South/Central America. And touring summer camps a year before camp is to start is although possible, quite a large expense. I tour the camps on your behalf and of course, try to get to know you very very well in order to recommend the camp that will be the perfect fit.
However, if you decide to make the financial investment into touring the year before, it is a terrific idea because you will use all six senses to make your ultimate decision:
1. TOUCH: You will touch the baseball fields, feel the cabins, shake some hands and feel hugs from welcoming staff.
2. SEE: Once you are prepared to send your child to camp, you will be able to visualize their settings. You will see their bunks, the grounds, the counselors, the activities. As good as videos are these days, there is nothing better than seeing the real thing.
3. HEAR: Going into the dining hall and hearing the roar of cheering during every meal time may or may not be great for your child. But you will know for sure when you visit.
4. TASTE: Of course, if there are any allergies or food concerns, you will see the dining hall in action and be able to taste test the food and the way it is served.
5. SMELL: The smell of the pine trees at camp is one I will never forget. But at the same time, what will be the smell at the camp you select? Is it clean or moldy? Does it have that outdoorsy smell? Or is it more open and have no memorable smell?
6. And finally, your INTUITION will guide you: You will know when you have found the right place. You and your children will feel like you are home.
Keep in mind, touring camps should be limited to 2- 4 camps. More than that will be confusing and overwhelming. Before selecting camps to tour, you should always work with your Camp Expert to make sure you have identified the best possible options on paper. And as I like to do, I try very hard to paint the picture of what goes on at camp. I try, especially if you cannot visit, to engage all of your senses in helping you to make your summer home decisions for your family. If you would like to set up a tour this summer, for the summer of 2017, please contact me ASAP.
Camp tours are pre-scheduled and we must take care of business right away. And of course, if touring is not an option, I will always be your travel guide with expert advice and we will bring the camp directors down to meet you in person.
Karen Meister, in partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers. Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437. Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world. Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.