Sunday, February 15, 2015

The #1 Secret of How to Choose the Best Summer Camp For You

The # 1 Secret of Choosing the Best Summer Camp is Choosing a Camp Where Your Kids Want to Go 


I was at my kids' baseball game the other day when I overheard two moms on our team talking about which summer camps to send their kids to this summer.

Then a couple other moms chimed in, then a few more. Suddenly it was a group discussion about which are "hot" new camps to check out this summer here in L.A.

Now I generally don't eavesdrop and I certainly did my best to mind my own business this time as always. But I won't lie, these women made no attempt to keep their conversation private.

They were as loud as anyone, even as loud as all the other people cheering at the baseball game.

And since I own a local day camp here in L.A myself, I decided to keep my mouth shut ears open and just try to listen to what these ladies were saying.

It wasn't always easy to hear exactly what they were talking about because they kept talking over each other and the cheering from the ballgame was loud too. But for the most part I think I got the gist of what they were saying. And believe me, their comments about the Los Angeles summer camp scene were revealing.

Here's a summary of what this group of moms said.

A few of them kept saying they wouldn't even bother looking into other camps since they're just gonna send their kids back to the same camps they go to every each summer, no need to switch. (I didn't catch the names of the camps they were talking about.)

Another lady was insistent summer camps are too expensive and not worth the money so she's keeping her daughter home.

A small clique of three other women (whose kids are best friends on the baseball team) kept rolling their eyes and asking each other why everyone else was already talking about summer camps when it's only February. April or May was a more appropriate time to look into camps in their opinions.

And then there were two moms involved in a summer camp discussion I found fascinating.

In fact -- even though they had no intention of doing so and don't realize they even did --  the two of them stumbled upon the #1 secret of how to choose the best summer camp for kids in Los Angeles or anywhere for that matter.

Here's  how it went down.

When one of these two ladies asked the other if she knew of some good camps in town, the second lady one shrugged and said, "I'll just ask my son where he wants to go and send him there. He's really into cooking lately and mentioned a few cooking camps he's interested in, that's probably what we'll do."

Bingo.

That lady discovered the #1 secret to choosing the best summer camp.

And it's very simple.

Here it is again in case you missed it: The secret of picking the best summer camp is sending your kids to camp where THEY want to go.

What it comes down to is this.

When you involve your kids in the decision-making process, they'll look forward to camp and be super excited about going. They whole experience will be positive.

But guess what happens when parents make a unilateral decision without consulting their kids about camp? Bad news all around.

After running my own L.A. summer camp for 15 years, I've come in contact with thousands of families who don't even bother checking with their own kids about which kind of camp to pick.

That's a huge mistake and recipe for disaster.

Just as a point of comparison, what if the "cooking-camp mom" mentioned instead said this: "My son really wants to go to a cooking camp, but we're sending him to a dance camp instead."

Can you imagine how horrible that camp experience would be?

Thank goodness that's just an example. In reality, this boy's mom thankfully considered her son's interests.

And when this young man arrives at cooking camp -- the cooking camp he chose himself -- he's likely to have the time of his life.