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Finding The Perfect Camp – Six Easy Tips

By Christopher Pyle

Type “summer camp” into Google, and you will get millions of results (literally!) More likely than not, the ideal camp for you will not be anywhere near the top of your search. What you will find at the top of the search are camp directories, which are websites that spend a lot of money so that you see them in the search engines. A directory will not know which camp is right for you.

In addition to the directories, you will find web links that take you to specific camps. You may want to look at some of these, but going to camp pages will take forever and will probably limit your exposure rather than helping you to find the camps that you want.

Directories are probably the most user-friendly resource out there, but if you are using them, you need to know how they work. They charge camps a certain amount to be listed on their site. While some of the listing options are free, they are usually very limited and do not even include a color photo. If a camp wants to be recognized by posting pictures, video, and logos, they need to pay a huge amount of money – sometimes upwards of thousands of dollars a year!

Since your time is valuable, here are some benefits of the directories: you can find camps broken down by religion, by activity, by geography, by residency or day camp.

When you figure out what you are looking for in a camp, use the search engines to research specifics. If you decide that you want to go whitewater rafting in a different part of the country, try typing “whitewater rafting camp in California” (if California is your destination of choice, of course). Check out the websites that you find, and call the camps directly to ask specific questions. For example, if you are traveling by air, you may want to find out if the camp offers an airport shuttle (something that our camp offers). This will address specific questions and allow you to narrow down your search.

But enough on the art and science of using search engines to research camps. Here are some tips that will help get you started:

1. Is a resident summer camp (one where you stay overnight) for you? If you haven’t spent much time away from home, this can be a scary thought. Feeling nervous is normal. It helps to know that no one is a “pro” at being a summer camp resident – everyone else is nervous, too! So, if this is something that’s exciting, I encourage you to give it a try; you’ll probably love it! If not, if this is simply something you cannot get into, then you should look for a day camp. Day camps can run multiple days but you’re picked up and dropped off each day.

2. Is it important to you to have a camp that is church-focused? If so, then make sure that you are searching for camps that offer this option. Keep in mind that even the most religious campers can enjoy a secular camp, as directors and counselors are very respectful of people of all backgrounds. If a camp is perfect in every other way but is not religious, don’t let this turn you away.

3. Does the camp need to be an all-boys (or all-girls) camp? If so, then make sure you are searching for all-boys camps. If coed is preferred make sure you keep an eye out for this as well. We cannot say which, if either, is better, as we have had experiences with both types of scenarios.

4. This is your summer vacation, so if there is something you want to explore, then look for that in a camp. If you want underwater basket weaving, then you should not enroll in a sea kayaking camp. With this in mind, it is important to look at the activities different camps offer, especially as you begin to narrow your search. Similar camps can still pose great differences. For example, here, in Northern California , there are two water-based camps that are not far apart. One camp is on a lake, the other on a river. They are both priced nearly the same. The river-based camp does nearly all that the lake-based camp does, but the river-based camp also rafts, has off-site excursions such as water parks, pro sporting events and local attractions, at no extra charge! Be sure to really take a look at the camps and compare. And as we always encourage, contact the camps and ask them questions. You can tell quite a bit about the camp by how they respond to you. Always choose the one that makes you the most comfortable.

5. One of the most important things NOT to do is assume that you cannot do something. If you are unsure as to whether or not you are capable of a certain activity, then ask! Camps are supposed to be fun, so chances are you will like what they are offering. If you are excited about whitewater rafting but aren’t sure if you are quite tough enough for this sport, then call or email the camp and ask them. Tell them your concerns and see what they say. If they are not that helpful, then chances are the camp is not for you. If, however, they are engaging and willing to answer your questions, then that camp could very well be a good fit.

6. That said, spend some time emailing or calling the camp and dialoguing with them. Every camp director in the world will write about how great their camp is, but the decision is ultimately yours. The only way that you will get comfortable with the camp is by talking to someone there and getting your questions answers. Camps should welcome your email or call, and the right camp will take care of you to help you find the best way to spend your summer vacation.

The tips above are a good starting point toward finding that camp that is going to help you make BFFs and provide you with memories for years to come. As you see, there is a tremendous variety in summer camping from adventure overnight camps to day camps focused on arts and crafts. This is your time to live it up, take the time to research, be bold, and take a risk on something new. Reach out via email, and go with the camp that responds in a way that speaks to you.

Nature’s-Classroom is the leading Summer Adventure Camp in Northern California. We offer Whitewater Rafting, team building, high and low ropes courses, caving at Moaning Caverns, and offsite field trips to local attractions, all right in the heart of Gold Country!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Pyle, Christopher "Finding The Perfect Camp – Six Easy Tips." Finding The Perfect Camp – Six Easy Tips. 22 Jun. 2010. 28 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Pyle, C (2010, June 22). Finding The Perfect Camp – Six Easy Tips. Retrieved December 28, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Pyle, Christopher "Finding The Perfect Camp – Six Easy Tips"

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