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Advice for rookies

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School’s out, and just two simple, magical words can turn frazzled parents into free spirits — “Summer Camp.”

You and your child might not be ready to register for one this year, but don’t let that stop you from exploring camps for Summer 2012, which will roll around soon enough.

Besides, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the gloomy prospect of your merry moppet becoming an irritable hedgehog when long, hot summer days yawn into grueling weeks and months, sapping your sanity as you try to keep him or her from the brink of boredom.

Luckily, clever folk at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey know a thing or two about kids and summer staycations. They have lots of ways to match families with the perfect camp so that children can enjoy an enriching break while stockpiling happy memories along the way.

Hesitant to register without checking the place out first? Many resident camps now offer Rookie Days, so that the kids can participate in swimming, soccer, boating and other cool activities while parents tour the site.

Inquire about Rookie Days by contacting the director at a camp that interests you.

Your child will be spending a large part of his or her summer at camp, so take advantage of a tour now — while the programs are underway. A camp tour this season can eliminate lots of headaches next year as parents get a feel of the activities, familiarize themselves with staff, and learn about camp philosophy and programs to make sure that it’s the right fit for their child.

There’s an added bonus: Tours allow children to be part of the decision-making, so that their camp experience will be satisfying, rewarding and fun.

Schedule a tour this summer by contacting the camp office. If that’s not an option right now, many camps conduct off-peak tours. And most camp directors will accommodate busy parents by making home visits.

There’s good news, too, if finances are a worry. Many day and resident camps offer payment plans or early-bird specials if you enroll your child ahead of time.

Remember, a registration to a summer camp can also make an awesome holiday or birthday gift — one with dual benefits: parents can adjust their budgets accordingly throughout the year, and kids can look forward to a summer full of new opportunities and friendships.

For more information, contact the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey at (800) 777–CAMP, and receive one-on-one advice and tips on how to locate the perfect camp. Register on the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey website at www.campwizard.org and receive a free customized camp listing based on your family’s needs.

For more information about the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, visit www.aca-nynj.org.

Updated 11:55 am, December 12, 2016
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