I always wanted to go to summer camp when I was a kid. I think I dreamed it would be more like something from The Parent Trap or Hey, Dude (anyone else remember that show? …now I’m really dating myself, aren’t I?) than my parents ever would’ve been able to afford, but it would’ve been so fun! Since Graham is a bit too young these days for summer camp, I thought I’d consult a professional to find out what to look for in a summer camp and learn a bit about what a good one has to offer. So I talked to my friend Stefanie Esquijarosa who is part-owner of Florida Film Academy (which is kind enough to advertise on my blog) and she gave me some great tips and a preview of what an awesome summer camp offering she has this year!
9 Tips for Finding a Great Summer Camp
Start by talking to your child about their interests. Do they want to stick with what they know they like or try something new? There might even be something they want to pursue that you don’t know about yet!
Look at a variety of options. Maybe there are several shorter camps that your child would like to attend to broaden their horizons. Or they might enjoy looking for a new passion. Which brings me to the next point…
Look for a place that offers programs year-round. If your child loves it and wants to participate after summer is over, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to let them do that?
Look for something educational, but fun. Summer is about making friends, playing, and having fun. Kids can definitely have fun while they learn.
Make sure you’re working with an established program. Since you’re spending your hard-earned money on these camps, you want to make sure they have a good reputation and will meet your expectations. That’s much easier to achieve when you go with a program that’s been around for a while.
You want to make sure the program is engaging. It shouldn’t be babysitting. You want your child to get something out of it and not just come home every day to tell you they sat around watching TV for a couple hours at the end of the day.
Look for camps that include a lot in their price. Getting the most bang for your buck is never a bad thing.
Look for transparency and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It should be easy to get information on the program and you should feel comfortable asking questions about it to decide if it’s the right fit. If you feel like you’re not getting the answers you need or you’re being brushed off, keep on looking. It’s probably a good indication of what kind of service you’ll get during the camp.
Book early! Waiting until the week that school lets out is not a good idea because you’ll be left scrambling, and the camps your child is interested in might be full.
Florida Film Academy’s Summer Programs
A bit of background for you: Stefanie was fresh out of college when she met Kay Hill and David Haynes, both well-established professionals in the filmmaking industry. The three of them decided to start Florida Film Academy together to offer programs to help kids explore their creativity in film, photography and journalism.
In interviewing Stefanie for this post, it was clear that she is passionate about her work helping kids to be creative and express themselves. She was so excited to share these wonderful programs that they offer and I could totally understand why. They are absolutely amazing.
Between the after school, homeschool, summer camp, and residency camp programs, FFA is offering kids the opportunity to learn the entire process of their chosen creative product (including makeup, editing, camera movement, etc.). What I think is the coolest part about the offerings there is that the kids have the opportunity to be published with the journalism program, submit their work to film festivals (and sometimes even win awards!) in the film program, and submit photos for art shows in the photography program. The kids are getting real-life experience and building their resumes at the same time as they’re surely having a blast. It’s definitely one to check out if your kids are interested!
I wish something like this existed when I was a kid!
Did you attend a summer camp as a kid? Will your kids be attending one this year? I’d love to hear about your experience choosing one in the comments!