In a way, it’s a blessing and a curse. Summer camp has become so popular that parents now have thousands of options to pick from. Some camps cater to scholastics, others to sports, possibly a majority of them to faith, and the structure, age ranges, and costs can vary just as much. They can be found near almost any city or town in the nation, because for obvious reasons most families prefer to keep their kids close to home. Even if you’re one of them, you still have a tremendous task ahead of you: picking just one camp in Texas. It’s a bit of a curse, because in our huge state we have a huge number of camps to choose from; but that’s a blessing too, because with so many choices, you have a better chance of picking the best camp in Texas for your kids. Weeding through dozens of brochures and websites isn’t easy, so we’ve assembled some pointers to help you make the right decision for your family.
1. Prioritize. Before creating any list or searching online for Texas summer camps, write down the attributes that matter most to you. If you went to camp decades earlier, recall which elements had the biggest effect on you; if you value proximity, decide how many miles you’re willing to travel to reach a camp in Texas; if faith most to you, or even a specific denomination most, note it. Having this tangible list will narrow your search immensely. Instead of plodding through hundreds of websites, you can target a smaller, more refined number.
2. Research. Before you send your kids off to a school, you probably spent time learning about the structure, reputation, and teachers there. Before letting them spend the night with a friend, you probably learn a bit about the friend and his family. It shouldn’t be any different when picking a camp in Texas for your children. It’s rarely possible to physically visit a camp, meet its staff, and observe the behavior of other campers. It is possible, though, to read mission statements, objectives, and costs online and in brochures. Using your list of priorities, find the camps that meet those basic standards and research them thoroughly. If you get a sense of insincerity or if you encounter beliefs that contradict your own, it probably isn’t the right camp. Words can only say so much, but they still reveal the character and spirit of a summer camp.
3. Ask. After you’ve located some camps that meet your basic requirements and seem sincere in their beliefs, the final step is to ask questions about them. Call the camp itself to hear a human voice discuss the goals and standards set by everyone who works there. Read online reviews and testimonials of past campers and their parents. If you’re able, find someone who sent a child there, and then meet them for coffee and ask about their experience. This process may seem arduous, but attending camp in Texas can be a powerfully transformative time for your kids. Ensuring it’s the right one is worth any effort.