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How To Pick a Summer Camp For Not Quite Crunchy Parents

Posted Aug 23 2008 11:44pm

My son finished camp yesterday so tired he fell asleep during the 10 minute drive home. You gotta love that kind of camp!

Actually, there’s a lot to love about The Inside The Outdoors summer camp. A week long camp given at nature centers across Orange County , California , I have to say it’s fantastic. Educational, eco and active, it may be my dream camp.

Am I gushing?

O.K. I may be, but this is my first year looking for camps for my son and while I may be a novice, I’m not a dummy. I know many camps are glorified baby sitting services. I know that many “dumb down” the content to appeal to a wider range of kids. So, I had a list of questions to ask before signing him up for a series of camps that would lighten my wallet.

  1. Is it reasonably priced? My friend Tan told me she uses a benchmark of the cost of babysitting. In my neck of the woods that’s about $10.00/hour. So any camp around that price is good.

  1. Will he learn something? Otherwise, why not just hire a babysitter?

  1. Is it taught/conducted by professionals?

  1. Are the professionals also well versed in working with kids?

  1. Is what the kids are learning well organized?

I particularly wanted my son to attend a science camp of sorts this year. Since, in general, children learn about biology before any other science, mostly because they can understand it easier, I was looking for some kind of nature camp that focused on the science of nature.

Though I’m sure he would have enjoyed it, at his age (6), a chemistry camp or mechanics camp would really be beyond him and I’m sure less focused on the science of chemistry or physics and more on the bang and crash.

The Inside the Outdoors camp focuses on animals found in the area. Each day they studied a new group of animals: mammals one day, amphibians another and so on through the week. They hiked through the nature center to view them, learned about what makes them of that classification and were introduced to rescued animals close up.

Let me just mention that I’m not the only one who hoped the week would go on forever. There were kids crying and parents moaning, in the parking lot sad today was the last day.

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