5 Tips On Choosing A Sleepaway Camp
By Travis E. Adams, Director & CEO of Fun at Camp Huawni
Experts at simple fun and meaningful relationships, Camp Huawni utilizes seasoned counselors (averaging 7.4 years of experience at Huawni) with storied tradition to create an over-the-top overnight Texas summer camp experience.
As summer inches nearer, many parents are already making plans to send their kids to a sleepaway camp, many for the first time. Here are 5 simple guidelines to use when picking a summer camp for your child.
1. Match Your Child's Biggest Need With The Camp
What is it that your child needs most? A self-esteem boost? Confidence? A refreshed understanding of what it means to be responsible and independent? An older role model? Just to be a kid and have fun? My biggest recommendation for parents is to answer this question first before even hopping on Google to search for a sleepaway camp. You may have other "wants" for your child, like learning a skill or to clean their room, but don't lose focus of the primary question: "What does my child need most?" Ask yourself "who's the best at [my child's need here]," and you'll do you child a huge favor.
2. Look at Session Size & Camper-to-Counselor Ratio
Would you rather your child be with 800 other kids, possibly optimizing their chances of making more friends, or with 180 kids, possibly giving your child a smaller, more intimate setting to spark a friendship? Also, consider the camper-to-counselor ratio. Is it 8:1 or 4:1? More counselors should mean more devoted time and investment in your child.
3. Think Safety
What policies and procedures does the camp have to make sure your child has a fun, but more importantly, safe summer? Check for accreditation. Camp Huawni is a member of the American Camp Association, meaning we comply with policies and procedures that promote safety in all phases of camp and that, in many cases, go above and beyond what is required by state regulations. For more details on safety, read 7 Ways To Keep Summer Camp Safe.
4. Look at Counselor Return Ratio
Counselor return ratio can tell a lot about a camp. Do the counselors enjoy working at camp enough to return? What does this say about the camp's culture? I look at summer camp culture similar to Southwest Airlines. When is the last time you flew Southwest and saw someone who hated their job? This is not necessarily the case with other airlines. You may also want to ask what the average tenure is for each counselor. Do counselors flock back to camp because they love their job?
5. Look at Camper Return Ratio
The ultimate test on whether kids love their sleepaway camp or not is many times reflected in their desire to return to camp the following summer. Find out the camper return ratio. Consider talking to a friend whose child went to that camp. Is this their 7th consecutive year or did they go just go one summer and never return? As a director, camper return ratio is a number that I take full responsibility for. In a way it's a very transparent picture on the job we do for our camp families.
My hope is that these five steps will help you jump start your search for an amazing sleepaway camp, and more importantly, forever enrich your child’s development.
About Camp Huawni:
Camp Huawni is a throwback to a simpler time and place. Sure - Camp Huawni has 50+ crazy fun activities, but what makes Camp Huawni one of the most sought-after kids summer camp is that it has Super Heroes (a.k.a. Huawni Counselors). No wonder there's a 3:1 camper-to-counselor ratio - it allows our super heroes to live out our mission…"LTK" or love the kids. At Camp Huawni, best friends are a plenty, and it's cool to be yourself. We've also learned that simple fun is the most fun, which is why mud fights, water balloon wars, and watermelon in your face are pretty much the norm. So come join our family this summer where time stops and worries disappear. You'll soon enough find your Second Home.
About Travis Adams:
Travis is the CEO & Director of Fun who carries the summer camp torch that his grandfather, Earl Adams, lit in 1965. Travis graduated from Texas Christian University in 2003 and received his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business in 2009. Travis’s passion is impacting youth in a profound, positive, and truthful way. “Love the kids” is more than Camp Huawni’s mission to Travis, it’s his calling. Whether it’s implementing a way for campers to grade their counselors or creating new cabin traditions, Travis is constantly looking at ways to improve campers’ experience. This will be Travis’s 33rd summer at Camp Huawni, and yes, he’s still a kid at heart.
Video footage is available for viewing at CampHuawni.com.