BBB Offers Summer Camp Search Tips
Onsite Visits and a Detailed Checklist Highly Recommended
Austin, TX -- According to the American Camp Association, more than 11 million children and adults attend day and resident camps every year. As deadlines to register for summer camps are now approaching, BBB www.bbb.org advises taking the time to look beyond brochures and website pictures before making a decision.
Over the past five years, BBB has received more than 500 complaints against various camps nationwide. Common disputes allege dissatisfaction with camp activities or staff, mistakes in the billing cycle or refund issues. Additionally, several complaints are filed every year regarding a child being sent home from a camp for disciplinary action or illness, and regarding cancellation of the camp program due to low registration.
With over 12,000 camps across the country to choose from, BBB advises parents to begin their search by looking for a camp centered on their child’s interests and age. In addition to checking BBB’s website www.bbb.org for a camp’s BBB Business Review, BBB offers the following tips for parents searching for the right camp:
· Get references. Ask parents of other campers about their child’s experience and why they recommend one camp over another. Of note, there is no government oversight of camps, so it’s especially important to look for facilities that are certified by the American Camp Association which require camps to meet up to 300 nationally recognized standards.
· Visit the camp in person. Check all living, eating and recreational facilities. Be sure to ask about safety procedures and how rules are enforced (particularly for water activities, archery and offsite trips).
· Assess the quality and commitment of the staff. Find out the camp director’s background, the criteria used for hiring staff and whether certification in CPR and First Aid is required. It is also important to know the ratio of staff to campers. Parents sending children to specialty camps should inquire about the staff’s level of expertise in the specific area.
· Know the fees and payment policies. What is the total cost of tuition? Is your deposit refundable? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation included? Is financial aid available? Make sure all these details are included in your contract.
· Ask about medical care and insurance. Check out the medical facilities to be sure they are adequate. Find out if a nurse or doctor is onsite. Inquire about the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to nearby medical facilities and under what circumstances you will be notified of any problems.
· Consider a backup plan. In case the camp you plan to register for does not meet your expectations or gets canceled for unexpected reasons, be sure to have another camp or two in mind that you are comfortable with. It’s ideal to also visit and research those backup camps in advance so that you can be well-informed even in the event of a last minute decision.
To check the reliability of a company, visit BBB.
About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.
Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas at (512) 445-4748
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