How to find the right summer camp program for your child
BBB recommends onsite visits, detailed checklist
AUSTIN, Texas - Mar. 27, 2012 – According to the American Camp Association, more than 12,000 day and resident camps exist in the U.S., and more than 11 million children and adults attend camp each year. When it comes time to choose that perfect camp for your child, how do you choose? Better Business Bureau advises taking the time to look beyond brochures and website pictures before making a decision.
Over the past three years, BBB has received more than 350 complaints against various camps nationwide. Common disputes allege dissatisfaction with camp activities or staff, mistakes in the billing cycle and refund issues.
BBB advises parents to begin their search early and look for a camp centered on their child’s interests and age. In addition to checking www.bbb.org to see a camp’s BBB Business Review or to find a BBB Accredited camp, BBB offers the following tips for parents searching for the right camp:
· Get references. Ask parents of other campers about their child’s experience and why they recommend one camp over another. Of note, there is no government oversight of camps, so it’s especially important to look for facilities that are certified by the American Camp Association, which requires camps to meet up to 300 nationally recognized standards.
· Visit the camp in person. Check all living, eating and recreational facilities. Be sure to ask about safety procedures and how rules are enforced.
· Assess the quality and commitment of the staff. Find out the camp director’s background, the criteria used for hiring staff and whether certification in CPR and First Aid is required. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specific area.
· Know the fees and payment policies. What is the total cost of tuition? Is your money refundable should the camp be canceled? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation included? Make sure all these details are included in your contract.
· Ask about medical care and insurance. Check out the medical facilities to be sure they are adequate. Find out if a nurse or doctor is onsite. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities and under what circumstances you will be notified of any problems.
· Consider a backup plan. In case the camp you choose gets canceled for unexpected reasons, be sure to have another camp or two in mind. It is ideal to also visit and research those backup camps in advance so that you can be well-informed in the event of a last-minute decision.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.