In the past couple days since posting my thoughts about summer camps, I’ve had a handful of emails from coaches and parents sending me their thoughts and asking some questions. Many of the thoughts were related to the kids who WANT to attend a ton of camps in the summer. Many of the questions were related to how to go about having this conversation with the kids. Meaning, how do you know which camps or leagues the kid should attend? In response, I’m posting this very brief guideline for parents in determining which camps might fit for your kid(s).
This is just a guideline! Ultimately, a longer conversation with your kid will give you a much better idea of whether or not to attend a camp.
Step 1 – Ask your kid if he/she wants to attend this camp. If he/she says “no,” then the conversation should be over. Don’t waste time and money for a kid to attend a summer camp that he or she doesn’t want to do. He/she won’t get anything out of it; he/she will take time away from the coaches running the camp that could be better spent on other kids looking to improve; and he/she will probably be a distraction to the other kids who want to be there.
Step 2 (if kid wants to attend camp) – Who’s paying for it? Who’s providing transportation? Parents, this is your opportunity to say no. If you’re stuck with the bill and either can’t afford it or simply don’t want to pay for it, then don’t! OR, sit down with your kid and figure out a way that he/she can pay for it. I know this step can be difficult in today’s “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, but you’re in charge of your own checkbook. Say no if you have to say no.
Step 3 (if both kid and parent are ok up to this point) – Is your coach ok with your attending this camp?
By following all of these steps, you’ll have a process for every type of kid to follow. For the kid that wants to attend every camp and league under the sun and parents are ok with it, then do it! Likewise, if the kid wants to spend his/her summer doing something else, then find something else to do.
Again – this is just a guideline, but I’m hoping that you’ll find it to be a helpful start to the conversation.