Summer camps are invariably life-changing experiences for those who are fortunate enough to attend. There are numerous camps for various needs and desires. There is truly something for everyone. Academic Camps, Sports Camps, English Camps, German Camps, French Camps, Adventure Camps, Computer Camps, STEM Camps, and Medicine Camps are just some of the options available. Whatever your child's interests are, there is something for them. The experience can help them figure out what they want to do with their lives, connect them with like-minded people, prepare them for the world, improve their English, and boost their confidence; the benefits are limitless. But where do YOU begin?
Sending your child to the right summer camp is one of the best investments you can make for their future, but it's a big decision with many factors to consider. If you get it right, it could be the best two weeks of their lives. If you get it wrong, you could be in for two weeks of heartbreak and stress. So, what can you do to ensure that you get it right the first time?
Follow these eight simple steps to assist you in making the best decisions for your child.
Education consultants and agents are your friends, choose wisely. They’ve done all the legwork so you don’t have to. The best agents have spent years in the industry, sent countless children to holiday camps, they’ve visited all the camps and have a great overview of what’s available. They will get to know your child and provide tailored advice to assist you in making the best decision. They will be able to assist you with your travel arrangements, visa requirements, and make your life easier in general. Best of all, if any issues arise, they will represent you and assist you in resolving them.
Check to see if there is a group option to travel with a group leader. This is an excellent choice for first-time campers. They travel with a group leader, so you know there is always someone on the ground who speaks your child's language.
Attend education fairs when they are held in your city. Quite often, the person at the fair will also be the person at the camp, allowing you to make contact and feel confident that your child is in good hands. You'll also have the opportunity to meet with a variety of schools, learn new things, and make an informed decision about which camp is best for your child.
Questions to ask before making a decision
What’s the nationality breakdown in the camp? The best camps will have a nationality cap of around 20% and a diverse range of nationalities. Academic Summer had students from over 60 different countries last year. Imagine the friends your child is going to make!
Inquire about student-staff ratios. The best schools will have small class sizes and a good staff-to-student ratio on trips. As a benchmark, Academic Summer has a maximum class size of 15 and a trip ratio of 10-1. This ratio is even lower for younger students.
Ask about number of hours of study. Academic Summer provides 25-30 hours of study time. Some language schools will only provide about 15 hours of instruction, with the remainder being free time. So consider what you want your child to achieve: do you want structure or a more relaxed environment where your child is left to their own devices?
Find out about what happens on trips. Academic Summer likes to plan the trip by educating the students ahead of time and organising a group activity. Other programmes might simply point them in the right direction and say, "See you in 6 hours." It all depends on what you want! You usually get what you pay for.
Ask about the daily routine and trip schedule. Summer schools will already have this planned.
Book early – The best things don’t always come to those who wait. Booking before the winter break can often secure you a generous early bird discount.
Safety is every school’s number one priority. Child welfare in the UK is extremely strict, camps are thoroughly vetted so you can be sure your child is in safe hands. Look for organisations that have been accredited by BAC, OFSTED or ISI.
Give them a chance to settle in, be strong! It's difficult for everyone at first, but it's especially difficult for you knowing your child is far from home and feeling unsettled. This is completely normal; they are in a new environment and may be away from home without their family for the first time. They can get through anything if they can get through this. Don't be discouraged if they call you right away to say they want to come home. Tell them to go out there and smile. They'll have forgotten they were homesick by the time they go to bed on the first night. It doesn't help if you're constantly on the phone If you are concerned, request that the camp take their phone and ensure that they are participating in any free time activities. Discuss your concerns with the adults, notify your agent, group leader, or school, and we will all work together to provide your child with an unforgettable experience. Academic Summer places children's welfare at the heart of its ethos; our professional staff understand how to deal with a homesick child and can turn almost any situation into a positive one.
Recognize that the food isn't bad; it's just not your food! At Academic Summer, we take pride in serving delicious, healthy, home-cooked food, but we also know that it is the thing that draws the most attention. If they complain about the food, you know they're generally happy with everything.
Remember you have nothing to worry about. Academic Summer has run for over 10 years with over 1000 students joining us every year. That’s over 10,000 people, each one returned safely to their families at the end, with a wealth of new experiences, friends and a new holiday destination that they will remember for the rest of their lives.