The Community YMCA Offers Tips for Choosing the Right Summer Camp
The YMCA has been nurturing the development of youth at summer camps since 1885 when Camp Dudley opened at Orange Lake, N.Y. Camp Dudley’s commitment to giving children a positive developmental experience through making new friends, building confidence and growing in self-reliance continues today in all Y camp programs.
“Summer camp is a time to learn, explore, build new skills and make new friends,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “Y summer camps offer an exciting, safe environment for young people to explore the outdoors, build self-esteem, develop social and interpersonal skills, stay active and healthy, and make lasting friendships and memories.”
With over 50 years of operating summer camps in Monmouth County, The Community YMCA has experience in what families should be looking for when considering camps for their children. Here are some considerations to think about when deciding which camp is right for your family.
Do your research. Talk to other parents and your child’s school. Get recommendations. Go online and check camp reviews. Attend camp fairs and open houses.
What kind of camp do you want? Just like each child is unique, so is each camp. Does the camp’s philosophy match your own? How does the camp approach learning? Do they have provisions for special needs children? Do they offer flexible schedules to meet your needs – half day, half week or choose your week options? Do they offer extended care in the morning or afternoon?
What do you want your child to learn? Consider what kind of experience you want your child to have. Do you want it to be fun and full of adventure or do you want it to be focused on learning new skills? Do you want it to be arts based, or sports based?
What does your child want? It is important to take into account your child’s personality and choose a camp that has programs that will benefit and interest them. Involve your child in the decision-making process and tour the camps together before making a final decision. This will help to give them ownership and relieve any anxiety they may feel.
Be safe with your choice of camp. Make sure your camp is licensed by the State of New Jersey and follows a strict set of safety and program guidelines. Ask about the training and education of the camp staff. Do they have a high staff return rate? Find out how the camp addresses behavioral and disciplinary issues.
Need financial assistance? Sending your child to summer camp need not be expensive. With today’s diversity of camps, there will be one that will suit your budget. Some camps offer a discount if you register early. Others offer partial or full scholarships. Y camps offer financial assistance, as well as flexible payment plans.
Additionally, the Y, with support from the Robin Hood Foundation, is also offering scholarships for up to two weeks of free camp for families impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The camp experience is available on a first come, first served basis at Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro, Camp Zehnder in Wall and camp programs in Red Bank, Middletown and Matawan. For more information on eligibility for the Sandy Scholarships, click here, call 732.946.4598, or e-mail the Y at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community YMCA offers a variety of camp experiences for children ages 2 ½ to 16 at seven locations throughout Monmouth County including:
- Traditional outdoor day camps at Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro and Camp Zehnder in Wall
- Summer fun camp, with a variety of activities including sports, swimming and arts and crafts, at the Y Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank and at St. Stephens AME Zion in Asbury Park
- Summer specialty camps, including Junior Lifeguarding, music, food and fun, basketball and lacrosse, also at the Y Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank
- Summer arts institutes, including culinary, creative play, hip hop dance, fashion design, puppet masters and Zumba, at the Junior League of Monmouth County in Rumson
- Enrichment camps at the Children’s Achievement Centers in Matawan and Middletown
- Preschool camps, also at the Children’s Achievement Centers in Matawan and Middletown
- Swim programs at the Y’s Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank
About The Community YMCA
The Y is a leading nonprofit charity that strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Community YMCA serves more than 20,000 residents in greater Monmouth County through programs such as: preschool, before and after school care, health and wellness, leadership, arts enrichment, personal and family counseling and summer day camp. With a mission to serve all, more than $1.6 million in reduced and free membership fees and programs is provided annually by the Y to individuals and families in need. This is made possible through the Y’s financial assistance program, funded by generous donors who have joined our cause to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. For more information, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org.