As parents call camp after camp or travel from one summer camp to another making mental notes of all the differences, similarities, strengths and weaknesses, one question that parents often ask is “ How good is the instruction?” Unfortunately, not until the camper is engaged in camp or relays feedback is the answer known.
There are, however, some questions you can ask when speaking with a director or things to observe if you are on a whirlwind camp tour.
- What is the camper/instructor ratio? Are there long lines and wait time for a turn or use of equipment or supplies?
- What is the instructor’s background – Is this a hobby or have they been professionally trained in the specialty and presently teaching during the year?
- Returning staff or new to camp?
- Is the teacher speaking with confidence and clarity? Do the campers seem engaged, attentive and motivated? Who has control of class – campers or instructor?
- Are groups divided by age or skill level? Are teens with younger campers?
- Is there a written curriculum? Is it a continuum in which the skills taught build upon each other to reach a goal or desired level of execution?
- What is the condition of equipment, supplies and specialty area? Clean, new, old, safe, cluttered, weeds, cracked courts? Are there enough to go around?
- Do you hear any positive reinforcement? Any constructive criticism?
- Are there examples of work displayed? Cookie cutter or creative?
- If outside, who is facing the sun- camper or staff? (Should be staff if giving instruction!
- Are campers having fun???????????
Enjoy your conversations and tours, and know that you can ask questions that might help you differentiate summer programs. Happy Camping!