If you are sending your children to camp this summer, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some recommendations for parents to carefully choose a summer camp that is safe.
"Summer camp is not as standardized as it used to be," Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz said in a statement. "While many young people opt for the traditional menu of sports, gymnastics and related activities, there is an impressive list of camps dedicated to individual campers' tastes. Your child can be part of the research process by helping guide your selection."
The Better Business Bureau says the most important elements to consider are that the facilities are safe, the camp is well-run and properly maintained and has well-trained staff.
Before signing a contract for a summer camp, you should be familiar with staff, activities and management of emergencies.
How to check on a camp:
- After you decide on a prospective camp, check it out at bbb.org to learn about others' experiences and any complaints, or to look for a BBB-accredited camp. BBB also recommends verifying whether the camp is a member of the American Camp Association (ACA), and meets its 32 mandatory national summer camp standards.
- Visit the camp to check the facilities such the bunks, dining area, medical clinic, swimming pool or lake.
- Ask about the staff, including whether staff members are subject to background checks, how are they trained and how many years they have worked at the camp
- Verify medical emergency procedures. Learn how far away the closest trauma center is, how the camp clinic is outfitted to handle emergencies and whether a medical doctor is onsite or nearby.
- Find out the rules, including how standard behavior and safety rules are enforced, how the camp deals with a homesick camper and what protocols are in place for activities such as water sports.
- Ask about fees and whether there are any extra fees for activities such as outings and overnight camping trips.
- Speak with other parents and children and ask for references so you can ask about their experience at the camp last year, whether they would recommend it and why or why not.
You can select from a list of BBB-accredited camps at bbb.org.