Selecting a Summer Camp

How to Select a Summer Camp in or near Singapore:     What do you need to check?

  Summer camps  around Singapore come in two forms, the so-called Day camps (where you typically send your child from 9AM to 3PM and  pick them up at the end of the camp) and the  Overnight camps (where children will stay overnight, typically for a week).   Day camps: A number of international schools,  private arts centres, play groups, commercial academic centres, and sports  camps (e.g., Rugby, tennis, soccer) exist.     Some  Googling for "summer camp Singapore" will give you the leads for a  dynamic and varied offering that changes every year. With all these centres  coming under Singapore law, there is little reason to worry in terms of safety  and you can focus on choosing the camp that fits your child's needs the best.     After  googling, a phonecall or personal visit should help you decide.   Overnight camps: Here the list of providers is much  shorter, but as these camps take place outside Singapore, there are a number of  things to check.     An immersive  experience such as this one is a profound experience that can provide a  significant boost in self-confidence, self-esteem, and social skills, and it  can give a child happy memories to last a lifetime, but you need to know that  your child can cope being away from home for a week.

Check the  educational benefits of a summer camp

Age considerations:     Typically, children need to be at least 8       years old to fully enjoy such events. Some children as young as 7 also       enjoy such events, but some get homesick at that age. If you are not       certain about this, but you would still like to send your child, please       check with the provider if there is the possibility to send your child       home earlier.  

Check group size and structure of a summer camp:     To get the most out of a summer camp,       check that the summer campers form a special group, which is separate from       the other clients (if there are any) so as to create the necessary       intimate atmosphere that allows each individual to bond with their peers       and camp leaders. 

The children should be part of an intimate group,       typically of size between 10 - 25 children per group. 

Each such group       must have at least two instructors attached to them who will get to know       the kids by name and will be able to provide individual care and       age-specific support. 

Check educational credentials of a summer camp:     To ensure your child will get the most       out of the profound potential educational benefits, you should check that       the provider has significant experience with Outdoor Education and with       dealing with young children.   


Check safety-related issues of a summer camp

  Check adult to child ratio: Since summer camps often employ       challenging activities such as trekking, climbing and kayaking and the       like, it is important you check with the provider that the ratio of adults       to kids is roughly 1:5 for age groups under 13. Not all of the adults need       be instructors, but the technical assistants need to be qualified to       technically conduct the activities your child engages in, while the chief       instructors need to have educational experience.   Medical issues: Medically speaking, you should realize       that although most camps will have a number of first-aiders present,       first-aid can only do so much, so it is more important that you check that       a medical doctor is always available within half an hour (similar to       Singapore). Also note that, just as on school trips, providers (who are       not certified doctors) are legally not allowed to dispense medical care,       so if children needs special medication, you must ensure that they able to       administer those by themselves.   General safety of a summer camp:

Safety, fortunately, is an area you do       not have to worry too much about, since the established providers       typically have vast experience dealing with school groups. Simply put,       they stand to loose so much in case of an accident that safety is       naturally their first priority. So, if a camp has been around for a long       time, and has a proven track record of dealing with school groups, you can       rest easy on the safety front. For newly established camps, however, you       may wish to check on safety items such as the following:

Please note: such       checks are mandatory for camps that deal with school groups, so for those       camps, there is no need for you to check again.

Travel insurance: Does the provider give you a good travel insurance which includes  evacuation coverage? Note however! Travel insurances typically  only cover $ 5000 medical cost upon return to Singapore, so you should have a  good medical insurance at home as well!   Qualified adult supervision: Are the instructors officially qualified  for the activities they conduct?   Emergency logistics in place: Does the provider have the logistics in  place to deal with medical emergencies (stand-by vehicle, doctors on call,  hospital closeby, best within half an hour to an hour)?   Hardware certification: If there are high elements in use, have these been  certified by recognized safety auditors?   Risk assessment systems in place: Does the provider have RAMS (Risk  Assessment Management Systems) in place, and do they employ SOPs (Standard  Operating Protocols) which are continually updated?   In summary,  for an established provider your child's safety is just as important as it is for  you, and you can focus on the uplifting side: selecting the camp that fits your  child best and will provide him or her with an unforgettable experience!   Happy summer  camping!