Don’t miss this annual event!
We know it’s hard to think about summer camp when you’re still looking for your kids’ winter gloves. But ready or not, camp registration is already underway at many local and regional camps.
Our annual Kids Camp & Summer Fun Fair (#kidscampfair) takes place in March at the National Infantry Museum. Vendors include a mix of local day camps and regional, overnight camps. It’s a great opportunity to collect information, talk to camp representatives, and then go home and review your summer schedule.
We also update our Summer Camp and Vacation Bible School directories regularly, so be sure to check them out as you consider the different options. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of our annual Kids Camp Fair.
Give yourself plenty of time
First, allow yourself enough time to see all the camps. Come early in the day. Too often, parents try to squeeze a camp fair in between other commitments and get overwhelmed at the prospect of seeing 40 – 50 camps represented in one place. This is a rare opportunity for you to visit in person with a director or staff member, so give yourself plenty of time to visit.
Plus, the Museum’s galleries and combat simulators will be open for your family’s entertainment.
Tip: The National Infantry Museum opens at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Even though our Camp Fair doesn’t officially start until 12:00 p.m., you are welcome to come early and look around.
Keep an open mind
The range of possibilities offered is exciting. It is also important to assess the needs of your children. Do they need an educational program to prevent summer learning loss? Are they ready for an overnight experience? Do they need a small day camp that’s local and highly structured? Strike up conversations with representatives at the camp booths and with other families at the fair as well.
Tip: Obtain as much information as possible about the camps your kids may be interested in. Even if your kids are still a bit young, a camp may hold some interest for you in years ahead.
Know your child’s interests
Before you go, ask your children about what would make for a fun summer. Explain to your children that there are day camps and overnight camps and steer them in the direction of what seems feasible for each child. But let them explore too. You might be surprised by their feedback.
Decide whether to bring your kids or leave them at home
By all means, bring your kids! A child’s reaction or response to a program can be an important guide to future selection and success. It’s important for campers to have a hand in choosing their summer camp. A camper who wants to attend camp makes all the difference.
Many vendors will offer games, crafts, and other activities at their booths. Your kids will have a blast. Just make sure your little ones are fed and well rested, so they don’t become too restless while Mom and Dad talk to strangers.
Tip: Bring another adult with you. That way you can “tag team” so one adult is watching the kids while the other adult talks to the Camp Representatives.
Come prepared to ask questions
Most camps have wonderful displays and photos that often give a good picture of what the program is about.
- Ask the basic question: does the program match the interests of the child?
- Ask about the staff: what are their experience and training?
- Ask about the schedule: is there an opportunity to adjust choices on a daily or weekly basis?
- Ask about pricing and whether the camp offers scholarships or early bird discounts.
- Ask camp representatives what their sign-up or admissions timelines look like.
- If the camp is a day camp, ask if they offer Before and Aftercare.
- If the camp is an overnight camp, ask what a typical day is like. Most camps – especially those that carry an ACA accreditation – provide capable supervision, health care, and offer a broad range of classic camp activities.
Tip: Collect business cards and flyers so you can do more research when you get home.
Plan your next steps
You are not expected to sign up for a camp at the camp fair unless you already know what you want. Instead, go home and sort through the flyers you collected. Talk to your family. Check out the camp websites.Take a few nights to absorb the material you collected. Review the application deadlines and plan accordingly. Remember, some camps fill up very quickly and space is limited.
Tip: Pencil in the dates for your favorite camps on a calendar so you can see which ones overlap.
National Infantry Museum, 1776 Legacy Way, Columbus GA
Hosted by Muscogee Moms and Family & Kids of the Chattahoochee Valley