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Common Cents with BBB: Choosing the Right Summer Camp

BBB advice on making a wise choice for your child’s summer care.
MIDLAND -- Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning your summertime activities. Each year more than 11 million children and adults attend camp in the United States. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps nationwide. It’s great to have options, but with so many to choose from it can be an intimidating task.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin recommends parents research the camps you are considering. According to the ACA, there is no government oversight of camps which is why it’s so crucial to do your homework. BBB received more than 149 complaints against various camps nationwide in 2013.

BBB offers advice to parents searching for the right camp:

Check BBB.org. Find trustworthy camps by checking the company’s BBB Business Review. You will find important background information, such as how long it has been in business, advertising issues, ownership information and how it resolves complaints.

Visit the camp in person. This will be your opportunity to check out living, eating, recreational facilities, and meet staff members. Be sure to ask about safety procedures and how rules are enforced.

Assess the quality of staff. Find out the camp director’s background, the criteria used for hiring staff and whether certification in CPR and First Aid is required. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specialized area.

Ask about medical care. Find out if a nurse or doctor is onsite. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities, and under what circumstances you will be notified of any problems.

Consider a backup plan. In case the camp you choose gets canceled for unexpected reasons, be sure to have another camp or two in mind. It is ideal to also visit and research those backup camps in advance so that you can be well-informed in the event of a last-minute decision.
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