Summer Programs

Sleepaway Camp

School is out, and the heat is on. Your children are anxious for outdoor action and cooling off in the pool. Summer has arrived, and camp season is here!

Sleepaway camps offer a unique summer experience that brings children together, encouraging independence and boosting self-esteem at the same time. Your child will love being a part of the exhilarating group experiences, with fun activities designed both for excitement and individual growth.

Sleepaway Camps For Girls

Yet there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all sleepaway camp! Want to give your children the summer of their life, but not sure where to find it? That’s where we come in. Our Camp Expert advisors will guide you to the best sleep away summer camps for your family. We’ll get to know your child’s needs, and discuss your ideal location, dates and length of time, and budget. Once you zone in on a few specific camps, we can help arrange tours for you.

Since 1987, we’ve been going to camp on your behalf. We’ve visited and evaluated over 1,400 sleep away programs worldwide, carefully taking note of all the details. Our eyes focus on much more than just the ground facilities. We also critique the philosophy of each camp, while observing the staff and campers in real time. Each and every summer, we make on-site visits and update our directory – so you get accurate, up-to-date info. All of our free advisory services are provided with no obligation nor cost.

Sleep Away Camps For Boys

In order to be current and up to date with the most accurate information, we:

  • *Tour facilities
  • *Interview directors and staff
  • *Assess program philosophy
  • *Observe children and teens in action

You benefit from our years of experience and our independent, first hand observations.

WHICH CAMP OR TEEN PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR MY FAMILY?

 An Explanation of What We Do For You….

Sleep Away Camps

If the above question leaves you feeling puzzled and overwhelmed, we’re here to help you find the answer! The Camp Experts & Teen Summers is a FREE advisory service dedicated to matching families with the best camp or teen program options for their children/teen. We have personally researched and assessed over 1,400 summer camps and teen programs worldwide, and we look forward to sharing our info with you!

Sleep Away Camps

 

With over 30 years of experience, our professional consultants know how to listen to and understand your needs. Camp Experts & Teen Summers are highly successful at guiding you to the camps and programs that will fulfill your requirements, be it price, location, or any special conditions.

Why choose blindly and take a chance, or rely upon word of mouth? Creating your child/teen’s summer experience deserves thought. We’ll give you all the personalized attention and information that you need in order to find your ideal camp or teen program. Our consultants – teachers, and parents like you, are easily accessible and located around the globe.
Sleep Away Camps
 
Thousands of children/teens have already been enrolled successfully in summer programs that we recommended. What are you waiting for? Trust our professional consultants to steer you towards the best sleepaway camp or teen program options for your child!

For more information, check out our FAQ page or click this link to request information.

CONTACT US BEFORE YOU START YOUR SEARCH

If you would like more information on how to find the best summer camp or teen program, you can complete our online form by clicking here:  CONTACT ME or call Karen Meister, your personal Camp Expert for your completely free service at 305-931-5437.

FAQ Page

How do I know when my child is ready for overnight camp?

Don’t judge your child entirely on the basis of age. While many regard 7 years and older to be the magic age for sleepaway camp, there are a number of other factors to consider.

Take clues directly from your child. Ask straight – is s/he interested in going to sleepaway camp? Personality plays a major role too. Some children prefer to stay close to home, while others are always planning visits and sleepovers at a friend. If your child shows hesitant interest, be positive and discuss the amazing experience and advantages that sleepaway camp has to offer!

When should I begin my search for overnight camp?

If you’re interested in touring camp while it’s in session, then you may have to begin your research as much as one and a half years in advance. Be forewarned that camp tours for prospective families can fill up surprisingly fast. As soon as you know which camp you’re interested in, book your spots!

Both parents and children gain a lot by viewing the summer camps live. There’s no other way to get a feel for the true spirit of camaraderie in a camp. It’s also the only means to observe the level of supervision and genuine staff involvement.

Keep in mind that registering your child a year in advance may grant additional bonuses. Not only do you avoid the risk of losing out due to enrollment closing early in the year, but many camps also offer “early bird specials,” with tuition incentives. Remember – no matter when you begin your search, our experts will be there to assist and advise you at every step.

Camp Experts & Teen Summers

Want to give your children a summer of fun, adventure and fantastic friends? How about an experience so rewarding that it will never be forgotten? Summer camp is so much more than a way to beat the heat! The right camp or teen program creates memories that will forever bring a smile to your child’s face.

Sleep away camps, overnight camps, day camps or specialty programs, we’ll help you place your child in the ideal camp or teen program. We know the questions to ask, and we have the answers you seek.

THE CAMP EXPERTS & TEEN SUMMERS will ask the right questions to best understand your children and your distinct needs. With over 1,400 programs worldwide, we’ll match your family up with the overnight camps and teen summer experiences that fit best.

With over 30 years of experience, our professional consultants know how to listen to and understand your needs. Camp Experts & Teen Summers are highly successful at guiding you to the camps and programs that will fulfill your requirements, be it price, location, or any special conditions.

Why choose blindly and take a chance, or rely upon word of mouth? Creating your child/teen’s summer experience deserves thought. We’ll give you all the personalized attention and information that you need in order to find your ideal camp or teen program. Our consultants – teachers, and parents like you, are easily accessible and located around the globe.

Thousands of children/teens have already been enrolled successfully in summer programs that we recommended. What are you waiting for? Trust our professional consultants to steer you towards the best sleepaway camp or teen program options for your child!

What can you fit in the summer 2017?

by Karen Meister

Every summer, we get about 10 1/2 weeks to plan for the kids and the family.  I for one, was never in the “mommy camp” mindset.  Keeping three boys home for an entire summer would crush me.  Sorry!  Not only would I have grayed prematurely, but the cost of entertaining three kids (and often times, friends) would have been overwhelming.  I was always creative with things to do at lower prices, but 10 1/2 weeks is a lot of planning.

For years, I did spend 8 full weeks running a camp… so I guess it was a mommy camp.  Tons of fun, loved it, and got to be the mommy that provided camp to about 1,000 kids and quite a few families.  But I wanted my kids to have the experience of being independent and away from me.  It was time to go to sleep away camp.  There are many decisions to make when selecting just the right camp for your children and family, but the first big decision is FULL SUMMER OR PARTIAL SUMMER.

Which is best for the kids, the family, the finances….  not necessarily in that order!   I have always been a planner.  I usually ask first, selfish or not, what I want out of the summer in between hours at work:

  • a trip, 
  • some alone time (I’m sure everyone wants some of that), 
  • closet cleaning,
  • exploring a new hobby….
You get the idea.  Then of course, how much time do I need for these wonderful things.  Adults only trip?  Maybe 10 days?  Family trip?  5-7 days?  Then build the rest of my “wants” around those major choices.
For me, full summer camping for the kids was always the right choice.  

7 Ways to Build Character at Camp

by Karen Meister

Summer camp started in the 1800′s as a way to expose the hard working children to the outdoor environment during the summer months.  What was learned in a classroom could be learned differently in nature.  What was not able to be taught in a classroom could also be taught in the outdoors. So often, I am asked for a summer experience that will teach a child to:

  • be more responsible
  • learn good character
  • be more appreciative for what they have
  • connect with humans vs technology

Our goals for summer are no different than they were way back when.  In 1905, camping advocate,  Dr. Winthrop Tisdale Talbot wrote:

“In cultivating general morality and kindly behavior the camps are helped chiefly through their usefulness in making boys strong vitally, in improving their power of digestion, in increasing their lung capacity, in letting the sunshine pour upon every portion of their bared bodies.   In camp, poor and rich lads stripped to their swimming trunks are on an absolute equality; the best man wins. Courage, generosity, goodwill, honesty are the touchstones of success in camp.

In other words, provide a place for all children to breathe deeply of clean air, disconnect from technology, practice climbing and playing and developing skills, eat healthy foods, compete hard, and live side by side with others from all walks of life to become a better member of this world.  The goals and rewards of camp have not changed since these words have been written. So boil it down to 7 things every child needs to build stronger character at summer camp:

1)    New relationships, not just with peers, but with trusted adults other than their parents.

Full Summer Camping-The Best!

by Karen Meister

Summer lasts for 3 months…  And letting go of your babies for what feels like the whole summer can be scary the first time.  52 days is a typical full summer camp and that is just not happening (says many the first year)…..  So here is what probably goes on once they leave and you have only committed to a half summer.

You will:

  1. Go to work, in the home or out of the home.
  2. No lunches to make, no beds to make, no need to rush the kids out of the house so you can add an extra “fill in the blanks”  (workout routine, cooking class, reading time…).
  3. Several hours a day sitting in front of the computer pouring over the 500 pictures posted by the camp in order to find the one picture of your child (smiling, grumpy, busy, messy)….
  4. Start creating the to-do list of big projects.
  5. Prepare for the grown up trip you plan to take with your significant other.
  6. Enjoy your trip and return to the to-do list that never left the drawing board.
  7. Welcome the kids home from camp or go to visiting day and pick them up.
  8. Do laundry and hear stories.
  9. Go back to work and send the kids to day camp, back to making lunches and rushing them out the door.
  10. Wonder why you thought 26 days was too long….
You now have the kids home for almost 6 more weeks before school starts again.  And the thoughts going through your mind are:
  1. Let’s take a short family vacation to break up the 6 weeks.  Can we afford it?
  2. It is really hot and raining almost every day.  

Camp-sickness Cures

 

by Karen Meister

Yes, yes.  School is just a few weeks away.  Your child has either arrived home or this information will help you get prepared for their return.

Thankfully, your child had the best summer and can only talk about camp and wishes desperately to return.  Congratulations!!  You did a great job in preparing your child for independence and success at camp.  And now, you get to deal with the aftermath.  Just keep remembering the free time you had all summer, take a deep breath and here are some tips to help the whole family re-enter!!

1.  Work on the photo album.  You spent hours looking at the computer for the perfect picture of your “happy” child.  You have saved them.  Work together to create a keepsake album of the summer of 2016 ie using a program like Snapfish.  With each picture, take the time to hear the story and get a one sentence caption that can be included.  So many good things come from this exercise:

  • you will relive the summer through your child’s stories without them feeling like you are interrogating
  • you will get your child thinking in a structured and goal-specific way which will help ease the transition into school
  • your child will be able to appreciate all the accomplishments now and into the future.

2.  Allow electronics time.  Fresh air was fabulous for the summer, but with television and computers now available, they may appear to be stuck in cyber-space for a while.  Let them.  And yet, if it gets out of hand, there is such power in the code for the router.  Loved the family that had the chores chart  that had to be completed in order to get the wifi password of the day!

Not just a Camp Expert

by Karen Meister

This was a great summer!  I have been fortunate to receive feedback from so many of the families I have sent on summer experiences.  But there were a few special phone calls worth sharing because they represent situations in which many may find themselves.  And these types of calls make my “job” as your Camp Expert so very rewarding.

CALL ONE - HOMESICKNESS

I spoke to a mom during the summer regarding homesickness.  Her child suffered a couple of years ago, skipped camp the following year, and then went to a new camp this year.  Mom was hoping the change in camp would alleviate the problem, but alas, this was not the case.  Because she was concerned that homesickness would be a problem, arrangements were made to allow phone calls to be made home.  Although she loved the activities, she was unhappy.  Mom agreed that

The goal was to help her daughter overcome her homesickness and successfully enjoy camp.   

- The plan:  I suggested she call the camp director AND the front line counselor and ask them to be part of the team to help her daughter find success at camp.  The camp diverted her away from using phone calls as a way to solve problems and the mom was not going to be available every second to receive a call if in fact, it came in.  The child had a go-to counselor for the special time, special hug or anything she needed during her stay.

The result:  mom called and said that her daughter is happy, healthy, and wants to stay at camp.

The lesson:  feeling homesick is a normal transition for many people (including adults).  

Refresh Refresh

by Karen Meister

All of a sudden, you have some free time.  The endless hours of childcare don’t exist right now because the kids have left for sleepaway camp.  You have a list of projects you are thinking about tackling while they are gone.  But, you just can’t seem to step away from the computer.  Of course, the camps post endless pictures of the kids at play and you MUST make sure that you see the pictures “hot off the presses” — so to speak.  And if you don’t see your child each day, in some new activity with a smile on their face, you have to call the camp and ask if he/she is alive, happy, hurt, sad, or who knows what.

Imagine how the kids feel.  During the summer, they are supposedly trying to get away from anything electronic.  Their cell phones have been extricated, they no longer get email, they have to write letters using paper and pencil (they have forgotten how to use them), and some photographer is constantly in their face to appease mom in front of the computer at home.  UGH!!!

I most certainly was guilty of the same, but was able to eventually pry myself away from the computer and found so many great things to do with that wonderful extra time during the summer.   So what to do with that extra time??

I am so curious to find out what activities are on your list.  Just click here and share your plans!!

So just remember, while your kids are ducking the photographer because it makes it harder to sink that basket, or hit an awesome serve, or make the napkin holder for you, or practice for the play during visiting day, practice what you are preaching to the kids.

Camp Experts Packing List

Packing-for-Camp To Do’s

by Karen Meister

There is so much going on right now that your head must be spinning.  Awards ceremonies, finals and AP exams!  One month left of school and so many days of summer still unplanned.  Too many procrastinators for sure.  And although there is still space, and we can find it for you, this article is dedicated to the PLANNERS!!  (Listen to the slow clap in the background….)

So if you are one to prepare in advance, here is a simple and organized “to-do list” to prepare for sleepaway camp!   Click here for a great packing spreadsheet.

  • Plan Ahead — The camp will be sending you a list of items that are required, whether they go for 2 weeks or 7.  Beyond shopping for clothing, the early order list will include:  duffle bags and name labels that go on EVERYTHING.  In addition, you need to know when the truck will be picking up the duffles in order to work backwards and deliver the bags to the loading site on time.  If you are sending your kids to a uniform camp, you need to order those items in advance.

 

  • Review Camp Packing Lists — Individual camps should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any required equipment, preferred footwear, etc. Be sure to carefully review what is needed, with special attention to those items that may not be permitted at camp. Before packing your camper’s favorite game system or cell phone, be sure that the camp permits electronic items. Most camps do not allow electronic items in camp or at least out of the cabin.

 

  • Label Everything — Laundry pens, iron-ons, and press and stick labels will distinguish your camper’s belongings from those of other cabin mates.

Sleepovers and summer camp teach kids important life skills

Reprint from the Washington Post

By Carolyn Butler
Forget empty-nest syndrome: I had a rough enough time recently sending my 6-year-old off to his first sleepover at a friend’s house.He was clearly more ready for this milestone than his father and I were: He’d been begging to go for weeks, and that afternoon, he sat on our steps eagerly waiting to be picked up — sleeping bag, glow-in-the-dark PJs and s’mores fixings in hand — as I worked at holding back tears.

While it can be hard to watch your children head off for sleepovers, sleepaway camp or even Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a few nights, such an event is a healthy and important step, says clinical psychologist Maureen Monaghan of Children’s National Medical Center.

“I think it is a great idea to give kids an experience of being on their own in a structured, supportive, supervised environment,” she says. The time away from parents provides an excellent opportunity for even young children to take initiative, exercise their autonomy and develop leadership, problem-solving and social skills, which often builds self-esteem, she explains. “Even just one night away from parents can be valuable. . . . It definitely challenges kids — it takes them out of their comfort environment — but it’s usually really positive, and we see a lot of growth and maturing.”

To learn more, I spoke with psychologist Michael Thompson, author ofHomesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow ,” about letting your kids go away and the associated benefits for the whole family.

Why is it so hard for today’s parents to separate from their children, at any age?

Generation Z Needs Overnight Camp

Reprinted from Camp Experts & Teen Summers

Generation Z. Those who have been born in the 90’s have grown up with conveniences that we’re enjoying today. There’s the constant connection to the internet and the world wide web, the smartphone, access to instant communication mediums such as text messaging, and of course, social media networking. Generation Z is Generation Z because of their dependence on 24/7 internet access via mobile phones, tablets and laptops. They are born with an electronic umbilical cord, from which every fiber of their being is fused to technology.

Moreover, their outlook on life is very unique and different from the other generations. They have seen America’s weakening grasp on being a global superpower, handed over to India and China as the new economic powerhouses, felt the effects of climate change on a global scale, witnessed the emergence of terrorism, of numerous school shootings, financial crises and unemployment.

This generation would rather communicate online or through text than talk face to face. They can chat with someone they don’t know on the world wide web; these people would rather stay indoors and spend all their time facing the computer and the cold screens of their phones.

It is of utmost importance that we bring Generation Z back to the roots and values the country has been striving for ever since the beginning of time. And for that, we need summer camp more than ever.

Overnight summer camp has been an honored mainstay throughout the history of the United States. It has stood over 150 years for a good reason, with one being an escape to the unbearable city heat before air conditioners entered the market.

A New Dynamic Thanks to Camp

by Nicole Gorin

My oldest daughter left for camp.  We knew she would have an awesome experience and would grow and mature.  What we didn’t know was the impact her absence would have on her two sisters (and the parents) left behind.

Growing up in a house with three girls, the eldest always plays a certain role.   The little ones look up to their big sister, but don’t always “get” to play with her.  My eldest has always been more attentive to the youngest.  So when “big sis” left for camp, my little one was sad to see her go.  The middle one?? Well she was a bit more nonchalant about the departure.

The first couple of days my little one would cry and ask when she was coming back. My middle one would say that she had only been gone for five minutes and was very curious about what she was doing without us. They were both very anxious to see pictures of her at camp. As the days went by, I began to see the two little ones start to really hang out together, to compromise, sleep in the same room, and be great company for each other. A bond started to form that had not been there before.

My middle daughter really stepped up and began to share and teach and be the big sister.  Much more willing to hear the little sister’s opinion and to make sure they were both having fun, there was a new “big sis” present. They really appreciated each other and learned a lot in the month their oldest sister was gone.

My oldest was having an incredible time at camp, forming new friendships and growing.

Finally Landed the Camp Job

by Karen Meister

“Do you think you will stay with this job?”  This is the young girl in the 9th grade Spanish class who stood up at Career Day.  Smack me in the forehead.  She changed my life.  I get bored when I work on the same project for too long.  I have so much energy, ideas, passions…  And I didn’t always have to earn “green ones” in order to survive.  Former spouse was the bread winner and frequent flyer mile millionaire.  I was mom, available and rather capable with tons of energy.

So I enjoyed going from adventure to adventure.  Right or wrong, I learned so much about career options, humans, the ability to morph.

I am a serial entrepreneur (hear Darth Vader in the background).

Job One:  Secretary

Had my MBA (me and three other women at UF) and graduated during the the worst unemployment period, comparable to what our “Occupy Wall Street” kids had to deal with.  Any job in advertising would be fine.  Just had to get started.  Briefcase in hand, I walked into the big NYC ad agency, ready to be the very best typist and coffee retriever EVER.  After one month, I asked to be included in the AE training program, without a pay raise, and was given the opportunity.   It was just okay but after 6 months, I was antsy.   Ran into a college friend in an elevator.  She was moving to London and needed to find someone to take her place.  Interviewed, gave notice, and off to the next adventure.

Job Two:  Special Events for American Express PLUS

I worked for a creative entrepreneurial woman, in her bedroom in Manhattan, and ran a major national special events campaign on 150 college campuses for Amex.  

Play, Laugh, Learn and Love – Back to Basics


by Karen Meister

Crazy scary world we live in today.  And yet, the only thing I want for our children is for them to play, laugh, learn and love.  They should play:  freely, with and without purpose, to exercise, and to explore.

They should laugh:  at themselves, at life, and with their friends and family.

They should learn:  about history, math, culture and science, how to communicate, how to feel, and how to be independent.

They should love:  life, their family, their friends, their neighbors, and their world.

Life is way too short, in the grand scheme of the universe, to take one moment for granted.  And as a parent, we try very hard to spare our children from the harshness of certain realities and allow them to grow up with the hopes and dreams of a wonderful future.

Summer camp is a gift, an opportunity and a necessity to allow a child to escape the daily barrage of media that tends to slip through during their existence at home.  Please consider giving this opportunity to your children.

Camp does the world a lot of good.

Karen Meisterin 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.

 

 

Teen Programs and Options

by Karen Meister

I will be spending the next couple of days meeting, greeting and learning about new and exciting programs for teens.  I have spoken with so many parents who all agree — we wish we could attend these programs today!!  They are amazing.  But beyond amazing, these programs are designed to help teens learn about our global world, the good, the bad and most importantly… the different.

Even within the United States, there are “different” types of people, environments, opportunities, needs and more.  When my youngest son left his cozy and beloved camp after 7 years of being there, he was sure he would never have an experience quite like camp.  Knowing what I knew about available opportunities, I was not going to permit him to stay one more year at a place that was terrific, but “same old”.  It was time to push him out of his summer “nest” and expose him to so much more….

Travel was his choice… and he got to see a good portion of the United States… places that I have never visited.  He would call from yet the next great place and say, “Mom, you will just love this place.  You have to go here!”  Needless to say, the push out of the nest was absolutely successful and to this day (now almost 10 years later), he is a willing and eager traveler.  The fire was lit, the passion was created and he became multidimensional as a teen.

But alas, there are so many ways to open the eyes of our somewhat entitled, somewhat shy, somewhat confident or non-confident teenagers.  So next week, I will be learning about specific programs in the following categories:

1.  

P2P – Passion to Proficiency

by Karen Meister

My very first teen guinea pig was a freshman in high school and also happened to be my niece.  She had fallen in love with photography and wanted to travel the world shooting pictures.  My response, “Great!  But do you really know what you are doing with that camera?”  We established a plan of action which I now call the High School P2P or Passion to Proficiency.

We mapped out the next several years of high school summers:

1.  Post-9th grade:  specialized program that would provide in depth skill-building with the camera, editing, story telling and portfolio building.

2.  Post-10th grade:  Travel, with camera, under the tutelage of experienced photographers and journalists.

3.  Post-11th grade:  Continue traveling but adding videography and journaling, again under the direction of experts.

Lauren is and will always be a star all on her own.  But her P2P plan augmented her skills and confidence to move forward through school.  As a graduate with distinction, from Duke University, in Visual Media Studies, she received a grant to produce a documentary on the migration of a mother and daughter from Peru to the United States.  I invite you to follow her blog, The Shared Divide, as her story unfolds.

With Lauren’s success as my guide, I have implemented the P2P plan with many teenagers with passions ranging from:   writing to medicine, engineering to sports, entrepreneurship to environmental sustainability, government and politics to musical theater.

P2P does not guarantee awards and college admissions, but P2P will enrich the life of your teen and demonstrate a commitment and dedication to success.  If you are interested in learning more about options for your teen, let’s talk.

Sending my daughter to camp

by Nicole Gorin

The decision to send my daughter to camp was a momentous one. Being a camper myself I knew of all the incredible adventures she would have. But I also knew how much I would miss her and worried about sending her out into the world.

So many questions came to mind: Was she ready? Who was going to comb her curly hair every day? Did I give her all the tools she needed to be successful? Could she take care of herself? What would she learn at camp? Was I ready for what she would come home knowing?

From silly questions to big questions. As a helicopter parent my mind was in overdrive.

Then I remembered how much fun I had at camp. All that I learned and the amazing friendships I made while I was there. The impact of giving her this experience would have an ever-lasting effect on her life. She would learn to be independent, to try new things, and to appreciate nature in a completely new way. She would learn things that were totally out of her comfort zone. Meet people from all walks of life and try new things. She would get to run and laugh and be silly and try swimming in the freezing lake and repelling, archery, and cooking. She would be exposed to things that she could never do at home. She would find herself at camp just like I did and it would change her forever.

The impact of this experience created ripples in so many areas.  Camp sent back a beautiful young lady. She is more confident and in tune with herself. She has counselors in England and friends all over the country she is constantly talking to.

Top 10 Questions for Camp Director

by Karen Meister

The Camp Directors and Owners are flying around the country meeting and greeting potential campers and families this month.  They are very busy, and ready to present the picture of their camp to you and your children.  But you need to be armed with the right type of questions to make sure that you find the perfect camp for your child and family.

Here are the top 10 questions for you to ask at the meeting:

1. What is the camp’s philosophy and programming structure?

The flavor of a camp starts from the top down.  The philosophy of the director will be the direction of the staff.  What is the philosophy on competition, rules and boundaries, sportsmanship, in bunk relationships, participation when the child is interested or not interested in an activity, and methods of encouragement.  Understand the programming structure:  full choice, partial choice, activities with your bunk, activities with your division, single sex and coed activities, placement by age, placement by ability…..  Understand how your child will spend their days and make sure it fits their personality. Bottom line:  Make sure their philosophy matches your parenting style and your child’s personality and learning style as well.

2. How is staff hired, screened and trained?

First, find out the hierarchy of staff from the top down.  You are meeting the director.  Understand how many people are between your child and the director, the chain of command and communications between the chain.  Then, find out :

Who interviews the staff? What are the criteria for staff members? How are they screened? Are there background checks in place?  How many US vs out of country staff will there be?  

What is your sideline behavior?

by Karen Meister

Are you the coach?  The motivator?  The task master?  The one who brings the goodies?  Do you want everyone to participate?  Do you want the kids to win?  Did you play the sport and reliving or rewriting through your child?

Who are you on the sidelines?  What is your sideline behavior?

I remember when my kids were playing tennis tournaments.  I knew plenty about tennis since I also competed when I was a kid and adult.  I would take them out to practice.  I would watch them during their tennis lessons.  I even offered to coach other kids while I watched my kids play.  I was so excited that they were going to learn “my sport of passion”.  And they were enjoying it too.  During Career Day, when they were in elementary school, they dressed up as tennis pros.  So much fun!!!

But alas, they taught me a lesson that I will never ever forget and am here to share with you.  I was taking my job as “mommy coach” way too seriously.  They showed me the way they were holding their rackets and I started to correct them and determined a new coach had to be found.  What were they teaching my kids???

A western grip and open stance, of course.  I was “old school” and my kids were getting great instruction.  I needed to BUTT OUT!!!!

And I sheepishly apologized for my ways to my 12 and under kids.

Sending your kids to sleepaway camp is a great way to support your kids’ learning and passion while butting out!!  But it is very important to find the right program.  Sleepaway camp will allow them to:

1.  

In memory of….

by Karen Meister

Today is September 11th and we all remember where we were and what we were doing on that horrible day.  It is now 14 years later and our lives have changed forever.  I pray for the lives who were lost, the families left behind and wish that the passing of time has helped them to heal.

Traumatic as well as remarkable occurrences through history stay with you forever.  Many of us remember the day Kennedy was shot and how we felt.  Some were too young to remember.   I have vivid memories of July 20th, 1969.   I was at camp.  I am so thankful to my parents for giving me phenomenal summers and memorable experiences.  Here is the story….

After a couple of years, of traditional summer camp experiences, my brother and I went to Don Budge Tennis Camp in Maryland.  It does not exist any longer.  Budge, the first to win the Grand Slam in tennis, ran a real tennis training academy at a beautiful boarding school in Maryland.  I can still see, in my mind, the long tree lined road leading up to the school.  For two summers, 6 weeks at a time, we chased the yellow ball, ran around the grounds with new friends from around the country, and ate tons of oranges in between periods of the day.

Like all camp programs, there are evening activities and ours combined lectures on sportsmanship, point management, tennis strategy and fun things like dances and banquets.  But on July 20th, 1969, we brought our pillows and blankets into the lounge where there was one television for us to all watch.  Remember, 1969 was not the age of big technology.  

What Did You Do This Summer?

by Karen Meister

The kids have been away all summer.  You decided, before they left, that you were going to take care of some things that you had not had time to address during the school year.  You are psyched, have a plan and before you know it, the kids are either back or on their way back in one more week.

Did you accomplish what you wanted?  Learn to salsa with your spouse?  Vacation?  Clean your file cabinet?  Did you accomplish anything?  When the kids come home and ask how YOUR summer was, what are you going to tell them?

The reason I pose this question is that many parents are afraid to give their children the gift of summer independence because they don’t know what they will do with themselves.  They are either afraid that:

  • their purpose will cease to exist,
  • they will actually have to talk with their spouse,
  • they will be expected to accomplish something other than relaxation, or
  • they feel that it is selfish to send the kids away and have nothing that must be taken care of.

If you have not yet sent the kids away, what dreams do you have of accomplishing?  Trust me, a mini episode of empty nest syndrome is a real issue.  When the kids leave for college, there does exist a real sense of depression.  A summer without the children can be unsettling.  More articles to come on how to handle these feelings.  But…

Don’t deny your children the opportunity to learn incredible life skills at sleepaway camp because of your fears.

So what will you tell your kids you did with your summer 2015?