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Guide To Picking Day Camp

Many parents have common concerns about enrolling their children in a summer day camp program.

Here are the five most important guidelines when selecting a day camp:

• Is the camp licensed?

A camp should be accredited or licensed. In Texas, for example, the Department of State Health Services requires that licensed camps post their license near the director's office and that it must be updated each year.

• What kind of training has the staff received?

Research the training provided and/or required for camp staff.

Camp staff members should have background checks done each year, complete a sexual harassment course and go through CPR and first aid certification before they can work with children.

• What is the camper-to-staff ratio?

Ask the director about his ratios. Many camps have 10 children to every camp staff member. However, here at The Houstonian, we have five children to every camp staff member to help prevent accidents from occurring.

Never be afraid to ask the director in-depth questions related to staff training.

• What kinds of activities and crafts are offered?

Make sure they are something your child will enjoy and be challenged by.

• What kinds of water activities are offered and what safety measures are taken?

Inquire about the water activities and the staff-camper ratios near the water.

At The Houstonian, we offer swim lessons for our Junior All Star Camp (ages 3 and 4). Our ratio is 4 children to 1 swim instructor, plus we have two camp counselors in the water with the children, one more camp counselor out of the pool to help with breaks if needed, and we always have a lifeguard on duty. Ultimately, our ratio goal is a one –on-one.

I hope these tips are a helpful guideline for picking a camp program that is best for you and your family’s needs and comfort level.

Remember that camp memories should last a lifetime. Choose a camp that will create the fun that they will remember all of their lives.

Melissa San Angelo is youth manager at The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa in Houston, Texas.

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