Happy Campers

Choosing the right sleepaway camp for your kid is anything but child’s play.

Five-figure annual tuition. Specialty programs. Expert staff. We’re not talking college, but the multi-million-dollar sleepaway camp industry. The American Camp Association has accredited 902 camps in the Northeast alone, and they now serve more than 250,000 kids eager to kiss their parents goodbye from New York State alone. So how to choose one?

Several “kid experts” reveal what sealed the deal for them when it came to their own children:

Aaron Newman, Director of Westchester Community Jewish Services Family Mental Health Clinic in Yonkers; privately practicing psychotherapist Camp: Baco Location: Adirondacks How did you choose the camp? It wasn’t a high-pressure environment, there were lots of choices for activities, the staff was really nice and welcoming, and all the kids seemed very happy, having fun, and engaged in activities. What I have valued most from Baco are the strong ties and relationships our children have made and the values instilled by the camp. 

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Mary Versfelt, MD, Pediatrician, Pediatric Associates in Rye Brook Camp: Kohut Location: Maine How did you choose the camp? Our daughter wanted an all-around camp experience, and we really felt the directors explained why and how the camp offered a positive, well-rounded experience. The camp’s philosophy or mission statement usually give you a pretty good idea.

Gretchen Menzies, Bedford Hills, social worker and founder of EssentialMom.com Camp: Chingachgook Location: Adirondacks How did you choose the camp? We love the ability to send him for only one week because it doesn’t interfere with other plans for the summer.

Gail Benzion-Beyer, Child Psychologist, Mount Kisco Camp: Trail’s End Location: Pennsylvania How did you choose the camp? The owner came off as warm, caring, and invested in the camp industry. Off the bat, it seemed like a place with good supervision and instruction. When my other son went to a different camp, we didn’t have the same feelings and it wasn’t nearly as wonderful an experience. Trust your instincts.

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