5 tips for parents just starting the camp search

Summer is just around the corner but there’s still time to find the perfect summer camp.

Camp archery AACS W“We never tell parents that it’s too late,” says Jane Flanagan, director of Summer at KEY in Annapolis. “Camps are filling faster this year than in years’ past, but we work very hard to find something that is right for a family’s schedule.”

According to Flanagan, specialty camps like cooking or theater tend to fill first, but parents of children with multiple interests need not worry.

“If you choose a camp program with a lot of different offerings, it’s easy to find something that works,” she says. “And most camps keep wait lists that are utilized if there is no availability for a specific week or camp.”

If you are just starting your camp search, check out these five tips that will help you find the perfect fit for summer camp fun.

1. Try a school-based program. Many schools offer a wide range of camps for multiple weeks, with more choices than a traditional outdoor day camp. For example, Summer at KEY, held at Key School in Annapolis, has almost 200 different camps over the course of eight weeks. Annapolis Area Christian School’s summer program offers more than 50 different programs for kids ages 3 through 18, with both day and overnight options.

2. Search online. Check out the summer day camp and overnight summer camp directories at ChesapeakeFamily.com/directories where you will find all kinds of options for kids of every age. Click on advanced search to narrow down results by location, type of camp, whether it offers extended care, length and other parameters. The American Camp Association also has an online camp database (find.acacamps.org) searchable by location, cost, affiliation and also by week and duration.

3. Call your local parks and recreation department. Anne Arundel County Parks and Recreation has more than 15 different types of camps for all ages. Dozens of specialized sports, arts and traditional day camps are held almost every week of the summer in multiple locations, so the odds of finding the right camp with openings are high. Visit the website to see a full catalog and view online registration information.

4. Ask around. Summer camp is always more fun with a friend. Many camps, like the Summer at KEY programs, offer a “refer a friend” discount, so parents are more than happy to share their summer plans. Facebook is a great starting point to poll your friends on their summer camp plans.

5. Get on mailing lists. Visit potential camps online and sign up for alerts or newsletters. Many camps offer last-minute coupons or discount codes to fill weeks that are not totally full. Also sign up for the Chesapeake Family Exclusive Deals email newsletters to receive the latest information about camps. Visit ChesapeakeFamily.com to sign up.

By Katie Riley

Photo courtesy of Annapolis Area Christian School

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