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How to Select the Right Summer Camp for Your Child

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Camping is a popular and fun way to enrich your child’s summer experience. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), there are more than 11,000 day and resident camps nationwide. Last year

Fifty-five percent of these camps saw an increase in enrollment. If you are planning to send your child to summer camp this year, it’s a good idea to check out the camp first to be sure it will be a good fit for both of you.

Of the complaints received by the BBB most allege refund issues, including camps’ failures to respond to notices of cancellation. This resulted in unauthorized credit card charges. Other complaints allege cancellation of camp programs due to low registration.

Parents have a variety of choices dependent on their child’s age and interests. In addition to checking with to see a camp’s BBB Business Profile, here are tips for parents searching for the right camp:

  • Get references. Ask parents of other campers about their child’s experience and why they recommend one camp over another. According to the ACA, there is no government oversight of camps, so it’s especially important to look for facilities that are certified by the ACA. The organization requires camps to meet up to 300 nationally recognized standards.
  • Visit the camp in person. Check all living, eating and recreational facilities. Be sure to ask about safety procedures and how rules are enforced.
  • Assess the quality and commitment of the staff. Find out the camp director’s background, the criteria used for hiring staff and whether certification in CPR and First Aid is required. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specialized area.
  • Know the fees and payment policies. What is the total cost of tuition? Is your money refundable should the camp be canceled? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation included? Make sure all these details are included in your contract.
  • Ask about medical care. Check out the medical facilities to be sure they are adequate. Find out if a nurse or doctor is on-site. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities and under what circumstances you will be notified of any problems.
  • Consider a backup plan. In case the camp you choose gets canceled for unexpected reasons, be sure to have another camp or two in mind. It is ideal to also visit and research those backup camps in advance so that you can be well-informed in the event of a last-minute decision. Source: BBB North Alabama


If you would like to report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit