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How to Get the Most Out of Touring Sleepaway Camps

How to Get the Most Out of Touring Sleepaway Camps

Monday, April 10, 2023

Are you contemplating sleepaway camp for your child? You’ve likely heard several camp names floating around and may feel you have a good handle as to which camps have the best reputations. Maybe you have friends and relatives who have already sent children to a particular camp and are influencing your thought process. Keep in mind that a camp that’s a good fit for one child might not be the right choice for your child. There are lots of great camps, but your mission is to find your child’s great camp … that special place where he or she can be the best version of themself. 

The ideal time to start your sleepaway camp research is at least one year prior to when you plan to send your child. Once you have narrowed down your choices to four or five camps, it’s important to schedule tours, preferably when the camp is in session. A promotional video and a nice website can make any camp look fabulous, but they certainly don’t tell the whole story. Taking a tour will let you take in the overall vibe of a camp and will give you clarity. Likely, it will also reassure you to have a “visual” as to where your camper might be attending. 

There are only seven or eight weeks in the camp season in which to do your “hands on” research … to see the camps in action. Visiting a camp will give you a sense as to how the camp functions on a daily basis. Plan to see no more than two camps a day, as tours can easily last two hours and there is usually much rural ground to travel in between camps. Bring your prospective camper with you, so that he or she can be involved in the decision-making process. 

More than just viewing the physical layout of a camp, visiting a program will give you a sense as to how things operate. Here are some questions to think about: 

If your camper has special dietary needs, ask to speak to the kitchen staff. If your camper has a special medical need, make sure you stop by the health center to consult with medical staff. And make sure you see the inside of a bunk, so you can see where your child will be living. 

If you can’t make the trip over the summer, a member of the camp staff may be available to meet you in the off-season to introduce their facilities and answer your questions. Either way, visiting camp is an important step in choosing the right camp for your child. It’s an investment that will pay off in the years to come. 

Surprise Lake Camp offers in-person tour dates in the fall and spring, as well as “virtual tours” over the winter. Check out SLC’s  events page to view upcoming scheduled tours. We also welcome families to visit SLC over the summer to see the camp in action. Click here to provide your information and schedule a tour date. 

First-Time Campers Are In Good Hands With Surprise Lake Camp

Surprise Lake Camp is a nonprofit organization that provides a home away from home for generations of young people. We believe in the value of community and friendship. Our Jewish values and identity shape our connection to nature. We’re dedicated to helping young people unplug, grow, and develop values, confidence, and skills to last a lifetime, adding to SLC’s storied history as the nation’s longest-running Jewish sleepaway camp. Learn more about all the reasons to choose SLC for giving your child a high-quality summer camp experience. 

Take the next step: explore our  first-time camper experiences  and  request more information.  Then come for a tour!

When you make a charitable gift to Surprise Lake Camp, you give children life-changing experiences. Partner with us to provide campers confidence, growth, friendships, and Jewish identity. Donate  today!