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What to Know Before Signing Her Up for Sleepaway Camp

Now's the time to start planning her summer.


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For more information on camps in your area, visit our camp directory.

If you’re planning on sending the kids to sleepaway camp next summer for a week or more, you’ll want to start prepping now. Here’s what to consider before choosing a camp:

Is she ready?

Has she slept at a friend’s house or spent time away from you? Does she have friends or a sibling going to the same camp? Can she do things on her own without a lot of adult assistance? Does she actually want to go? There’s no perfect age, but these questions will help you determine if the time is right.

Figure out your budget.

Sleepaway camps are a lot pricier than typical day camps. Most camps require a deposit when you register—and often give discounts if you pay in full in advance. Decide what kind of camp he should try.

Why are you sending him to sleepaway?

Does he want to hone his soccer or horseback riding skills, or is he looking to try a range of activities? There’s a camp for almost every interest out there, plus plenty that cater to kids who like a traditional experience that offers a little bit of everything.

Go to open houses.

After you narrow down your choices, set up a visit so you can both get a feel for the camp’s vibe. Ask questions about a typical week and the ground rules to make sure it’s a good fit.

Ask families about their experiences.

Talk to friends or members of the camp’s Facebook group to get the lowdown on your top choice. They’ll give honest pros and cons and tell you how the camp fares when it comes to allergies, special needs or anything else on your list. You’ll also get a feel for whether it’s good for first-timers.

Get the paperwork you need.

Find out what your camp requires and plan ahead. In most cases, you’ll need to send the results from a physical or updated records from your doctor to the camp.


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