Every year, all across the country, parents write checks to send their daughters to camp. Unfortunately, without proper research, the exercise can be a waste of time and money. Take the guess work out the choice by considering a series of in-depth questions.
The size of the program, number of session days, distance from home, and philosophy should all influence your decision. The cost, length, and type of a particular program are not necessarily connected with “results.” Research all potential programs and if possible, meet with a representative and talk with past participants.
Brochures, Websites and videos may also be reviewed to answer questions about activities, staff, supervision and facilities. If you’re deciding whether you’re ready to go away to a residential camp, start by asking yourself the following questions.
Although age is one factor in readiness for sleep-away camp, a girl’s maturity level and personality are more important indicators. Talk with your family about camp and see if you really want to go. Chances are if you’re enthusiastic about the experience and your parents are supportive, you’ll have a great time.
Once you decide you’re ready for camp, ask yourself these questions to decide what kind of camp is right for you:
Do you mainly want to have fun with your friends? If so, don’t spend a lot of money on a specialized camp.
Traditional Camps offer a wide range of activities, including sports & games. They also usually include such traditional activities as arts & crafts, campfires, and water sports.
Do you want a competitive environment? Competitive sports camps generally provide training for athletes who participate in school and other leagues. If you are looking for a program that emphasizes sports in a more informal environment, choose a Multisport program or one that emphasizes non-competitive learning.
Do you want to improve your sports skills? If improving technical skills is your main priority, enroll in a program in a Specialty Camp with coaches who can demonstrate skills and take the time to correct problems. Specialty Camps focus on a particular area of interest such as Goalkeeping, Horsemanship, Pitching, Scoring, etc.
Do you want to improve your tactical sense? Tactics are learned over time and from mistakes therefore, you should consider attending a longer, tactical-oriented program with lots of coaches per player.
Do you want to bond with your team and develop more team strategies? If moving your team to the next level is important, maybe you should talk to your coach and teammates about attending a “Team Camp.” Many programs can accommodate teams or offer special sessions for teams.
Do you want to get in better physical condition? This should only be of concern to girls over 12 years, who will benefit by cultivating growing muscle mass and lung capacity. Check out programs that offer this emphasis–but be sure you have a medical exam to verify your basic physical condition.
Are you getting bored with the sport you play? If your batteries need recharing, pick a program with an athlete you admire or in a special location– which may cost more money but will keep you energized about your sport.
Whatever you decide, the main goal should be to have fun! Let the games begin…