How do you choose a camp for your child?
This could be a difficult decision because there are so many good choices. I would like to share with you, first, as a parent, and second, as a camp director, some points for you to consider.
Are you looking for a place that will have positive life impact on your child?
As a parent you may be asking “What do I want my child to gain from his or her camp experience?”
Our children want to ‘have fun’ which is great, but we, as parents are looking for ‘fun’ in a safe, nurturing environment with other positive outcomes. Outcomes such as time outdoors, experiencing nature, time unplugged from electronics with lots of social interaction, and gaining other life skills such as confidence, independence, responsibility, compassion, helpfulness, and teamwork.
You want to know that whether they are exploring nature, playing, conquering new heights or just enjoying new friends in the camp community, they will be making memories that last a lifetime. You may also value a Christian, Biblical perspective and a camp’s mission that includes the things that you value.
Camps can provide an environment in which campers have an opportunity for growth in many of these areas, but not all camps are created equal.
So how do you find one that has what you are looking for?
A great place to start is to get a recommendation from trusted resources. This could include someone you know who has been to that camp, or an accrediting organization like the American Camping Association. Find out the camp’s mission statement, purpose, beliefs and goals. These should clearly defined and accessible to you as a parent (on the website, in a video, handbook or brochure). Find out more about the camp’s staff and programs and activities offered that coincide with your child’s interests and needs. Some camps will specialize in particular activities or have restricted age groups.
Finding the ‘right camp’ will make all the difference in having a ‘life changing’ experience, one that will enhance your child’s ability to succeed and excel in life.
I’d like to give you a few positive reasons why Camp Cherith of WNY could be the camp you are looking for.
1. Changed lives
Do you want your child to return from camp with new interests, skills, friendships, and a better sense of who they are?
I remember when I was a camper, that Camp Cherith of WNY changed my life in so many positive ways. Now, as the Director, I want to do all I can to offer the same opportunity to every Cherith camper.
At Camp Cherith we design and filter every aspect of our camp program through our mission statement which is; “to transform lives, cultivate disciples and train leaders through a Bible-based, Christ-centered outdoor camping program for children and youth.” We are here to help your child grow and learn while having fun. Our camp program promotes character building and friendships through positive mentors and role models, who can help campers to grasp how much God loves them and wants a relationship with them. Your camper will grow as a whole person through intentionally planned opportunities experienced each day of the camp week. Our camp staff strives to lead by example “Christ in every aspect of life” as we practically live out God’s love.
2. Superb Camp Staff
Do you want your camper to have a great counselor and the most caring staff members possible?
In putting together our staff we strive to make that happen for every camper. Each staff member is carefully selected based on his/her desire to serve God and their enjoyment of working with children. All staff members go through a pre-screening process that is conducted with real time criminal history records. Our staff are well-trained in order to create a safe, caring and affirming experience for each camper. Positive relationships are so important that the friendships and staff-to-camper connections that are made are often what brings campers back year after year.
3. Health and Safety
Are you are concerned that your camper will be in a safe environment and be well cared for physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
We do everything possible to make that happen. We have a Registered Nurse who is on duty at all times. We undergo annual inspections by the NYS Health Department and maintain ACA accreditation. The American Camp Association (ACA) is considered to be the leading accrediting organization in camping. CCWNY chooses to be a part of this process because of our desire to offer safe, high quality programs for your children. We maintain a low camper to staff ratio (3:1) in our overall program so each camper gets maximum attention.
4. Camper-selected Activities
Do you want your child to have the freedom to choose their activities, choosing ones that really interest them, challenge them and build skills?
Children and youth need opportunities to make decisions and try new things. Camp Cherith offers a wide variety of age appropriate, skill based activities for campers to choose from, and they get to participate in their 3 choices all week long. While participating in activities, our goal is to let campers experience being outdoors as much as possible. Most activities are designed to offer a progression of skills so that campers can enhance their knowledge and rise to a new skill level in that activity. If campers choose to take Swimming, Archery or .22 target riflery, they can earn awards from: American Red Cross, USA Archery Association and National Rifle Association.
5. INTENTIONALLY SMALL CABIN GROUPS
Would you like your camper to live in a small group, family style setting?
Our cabin groups are intentionally small (6-8 campers by age/grade with a counselor). Every week we have campers from ages 7-17 in camp rather than separate weeks by age groups. This gives campers the opportunity to interact with a wider age range and has proven to be very positive. Other camps may live in large dorm style, bunk houses with higher camper to staff ratios or staff living in a separate unit. Our small group, living situation gives your child the perfect opportunity to make new friends and learn responsibility as they clean their cabin together, take hikes or have their daily Bible study together, led by their very own caring counselor. We eat family style at round tables, so there is always lively conversation, singing and meal clean up as a group. (Other camps may choose to serve food cafeteria style with waiting in lines and eating at long tables where conversation is difficult). Our setting also provides a week of NO ‘screen time’, but instead face to face conversations with your cabin mates, staff and other campers.
6. campfires every evening
Do you love a good campfire?
Where else will your child have the opportunity to sit around a campfire each evening singing songs, hearing messages or stories and having heart to heart talks with their counselors. Your child will also get to experience a cookout over the campfire during the week. Every Friday night we end the week with an All-Camp bonfire at which we sing favorite camp songs and campers can share what they learned during their week.
Camp should be a positive, life changing experience for every child. Choosing the right camp can make all the difference. Happy Camping!