Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Feb 2015

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Page 17 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 17 By CHRISTA MELNYK HINES S ummer camp is a time-honored tradition, rich with activities, newfound friendships and a lifetime of memories. When thinking about and booking summer camp for your child, keep in mind these ways to make your child's camp experience smooth sailing from start to finish. S'more than just fun According to the RAND Corpora- tion, a non-profit research organi- zation, children who participate in summer programs, like experiential learning activities offered in an organized camp, are less likely to experience a significant summer learning slide. Camp also enhances a child's physical and emotional well-being. Activities build social skills, team- work and independence, which all contribute to stronger self-confi- dence and leadership abilities. "I often hear from parents how amazed they are when their chil- dren return home after spending time at camp," says Doug Berkel, a senior program director of Youth Development Services with a YMCA. "They say they seem older and more mature." Start with a good day camp First, together with your child, decide what skills you want your child to gain and choose a camp that fits her needs and interests, as well as your family's values. Day camps are a practical way to introduce children, ages 5 to 12, to the camp experience. Most center on a theme — like sports, science, nature, technology and the arts. Find your child's specialty Specialty camps center around one activity like music, art, sports or science. These camps provide chil- Happy campers How to pick the right summer camp experience for your child (Continued on Page 18)

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