Backpacking & Camping Tips : How to Choose a Backpacking Tent

When choosing a tent for backpacking, consider the possible weather conditions, the climate, how many people it sleeps and the weight of it. Find the lightest-weight tent suitable for your needs with helpful information from a backpacking and hiking guide in this free video on exploring the outdoors. Expert: Nicole Pyke Bio: Nicole Pyke is an experienced backpacking and hiking guide, leading primarily high school students on week-long backcountry trips. Filmmaker: Eli Pyke
Video Rating: 4 / 5


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    How to Choose a Summer Camp

    How to Choose a Summer Camp

    Choosing the right summer camp for your child can be a challenging and sometimes overwhelming task. Since there’s a seemingly endless variety of choices to consider, matching the ideal camp to your child’s interests, personality, and busy schedule can be daunting. Furthermore, as a parent, you have the responsiblity of ensuring the camp you choose for your child is operated in a safe and appropriate manner for your child’s age and skill levels.

    The following is a camp selection checklist for parents to consider when considering summer camp opportunities for their kids:

    1. Identify the camp’s program emphasis.

    Every camp has a different philosophy and program emphasis. Some camps promote structured group activities, while others give campers more individualized freedom to pick and choose the individual activities that appeal to them. Some camps offer strictly traditional activities, while others may focus exclusively on sports, drama, or surfing. Or, maybe your child would flourish in a competitive camp environment whereas another child would be better off participating in non-competitive camp activities. By knowing your child’s personality, interests, personality traits, and learning style, you can better identify the right camp for you.

    2. Confirm that the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.

    In order to earn accreditation by the American Camp Association (ACA), camps must comply with up to 300 best-practice industry standards relating to camper health, safety, supervision and activity planning and execution which are crucial to a camp’s operation.

    3. Ask about the camp director’s background.

    To ensure that the camp director is qualified, make sure he or she meets the minimum standards set forth by the ACA. Such standards recommend that camp director holds a bachelor’s degree, has in-depth experience in camp administration, performed in-service training during the last three years, and is at least 25 years old.

    4. Camper-to-counselor ratios. To make sure your child is getting the individual attention and supervision he or she needs for his or her age, compare the camp’s counselor-to-camper ratio to ACA standards. For day camps, the general ratios range from 8:1 for 6, 7 and 8 year olds, to 10:1 for 9 to 14 year olds, and 12:1 for campers ages 15 to 17. For sleepaway camps, the general recommended ratio is 6:1 for 7 and 8 year olds, 8:1 for 9 to 14 year olds and 10:1 for campers ages 15 to 17.

    (Please note, the above-cited child-to-counselor ratio standards are only ACA’s general, MINIMUM recommendations and may vary depending on various situations and/or conditions. Moreover, there could be additional standards relating to specific programs and/or activities where more supervision may be prudent, if not required. Accordingly, you should use your own judgement and conduct your own research to decide what is appropriate for you and your child.)

    5. Inquire about camp staff: Your child’s counselors can make or break a child’s camp experience.

    In addition to facilitating camp activities, counselors serve as role models and should be dependable, trustworthy, and show enthusiasm for their job. For safety reasons, counselors should also be CPR and First Aid-Certified and have undergone criminal background checks prior to employment by the camp.

    6. Accommodation of special needs.

    If your child has special needs due to an allergy or other medical condition, be sure to ask if the camp is equipped to handle these requirements.

    7. Find out about how the camp handles discipline.

    As in any organization, rules need to be followed and the camp’s disciplinary approach should be fair, reasonable and openly communicated. Positive reinforcement, a sense of fair play and assertive role-modeling are important things to look for. If penalties apply to certain violations, camp staff should apply them fairly, calmly and without unnecessary criticism.

    8. Check the camp’s references.

    References can provide you with a glimpse of the experiences others have had at a camp, and they are an important way of checking out a camp’s track record and reputation. Before you choose a camp, the camp director should be willing to provide references upon request.

    Good luck choosing a camp and have a great summer!

    Copyright Eric D. Naftulin and Aloha Beach Camp. All rights reserved.

    Eric D. Naftulin is the owner/operator of Aloha Beach Camp, an aquatic sports summer day camp for kids and teens ages 4 to 15 in Los Angeles, California. Try Aloha Beach Camp and learn to surf, boogie board, wakeboard, jet ski and more.

    (2.2) Fred has big plans for his end of summer camping trip before he starts kindergarten, and looks forward to auditioning for the school play! IT’S HACKIN HERE!! FredFigglehorn.com !!
    Video Rating: 4 / 5

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    How to Choose a Speciatly Summer Camp

    How to Choose a Speciatly Summer Camp

    Specialty summer camp programs have continued to grow in popularity each of the past several years. In fact, they’re the fastest growing segment of the entire summer camp industry. A “specialty” camp generally focuses on one or more related camp activities (just beach and surfing activities, for example), versus a traditional summer camp which typically offers a more generalized program with activities such as arts & crafts, horseback riding, nature study, sports and games, archery, and dance and drama, among others.

    Specialty camps have historically appealed to “older” kids (generally ages 10 or 12) because their lifestyle interests begin to take shape at this age and they become more interested in specialized fields of study or play as they grow. But in recent years, specialty camps are seeing more enrollment from children as young as preschool age whose parents may want them exposed to more specific camp activities than they’d get at a traditional camp.

    Like traditional camps, specialty camps offer day or resident/sleepaway camp experiences. (At day camps, children are generally brought to the camp each morning in a bus or van, spend their day at camp, and then return home in the late afternoon.  At resident camps, children “live” at the camp — typically in bunks, tents or cabins — for up to several weeks at a time during the summer.)

    There seems to be no limit as to the types of specialty camps available. If your child is interested in a specific area of interest, you can be sure there’s a specialty camp designed for them. For example, a recent internet search revealed the following types of specialty camps: beach and surfing camps, cooking camps, boating camps, camps for children with special needs, weight loss camps, boot camps, football camps, general sports camps, ski and snowboard camps, camps for children with cancer, baking camps, tennis camps, acting camps, academic camps, entrepreneurial camps, family camps and camps for twins, among others.

    Where’s the best place to start your search for a specialty camp? We always suggest picking an American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited camp, regardless of the type of camp you choose. By choosing an accredited camp, you can be sure the camp meets or exceeds up to 300 best-practice industry standards relating to child safety and supervision, transportation, program and activity scheduling, food service, and more.

    The ACA maintains a free Website where you can search for a specialty camp among any criteria that’s important to you such as by type of camp, location, gender, price, and ages served.

    Go to http://acacamps.com to start your search. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a beach and surf camp in Los Angeles or a cooking camp in Wisconsin, the specialty camp you’re looking for will be right there on the ACA’s Web site.

    Shelly Cartwright is a summer camp commentator who writes about outdoor and specialty camp activities for kids and teens.


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    How to Choose a Day Camp

    How to Choose a Day Camp

    If you’re a parent considering summer camp opportunities for your child, you might consider a day camp rather than (or in addition to) a sleepaway camp experience.

    Parents often view sending their kids to day camps as a “stepping stone” to overnight camp. They might think day camps are for “younger kids” and sleepaway camps are for older ones. In some cases this is might be true, but not always.

    In fact, some day camps actually specialize in meeting the unique needs of older kids who don’t want to go to sleepaway camp, but who still require worthwhile activities and adult supervision during the summer.

     Activities at such day camps are often designed for the teen or “tween” age group.

    One of the advantages you have as a parent when comparing day camps to overnight camps (or even day camps to day camps) is that a day camp’s customer base is generally restricted to its local geographical area. This makes things easier for you to learn more about the camp.

    For example, you can contact the camp’s current or former customers for references, and you can even visit the camp before making a decision.

    So how do you know you’re picking the right day camp for your child? We’ve indirectly touched on a few points above. In particular, though, we recommend following 4-point checklist to help ensure the day camp you choose is the right one for your child.

    1. Make sure the day camp is ACA accredited

    If the day camp you’re considering is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), then you are assured it meets or exceeds up to 300 best-practice industry standards relating to camper health and safety, program quality, camper supervision, activity planning, transportation and more. If the day camp you’re considering is not ACA-accredited, ask the camp director why not.

    2. Check references

    Since day camps primarily serve local customers, it should not be difficult to find a few families who’ve attended the camp before. Talk to them about their impressions of the program. If you hear good things, you might have a winner. Mixed reviews, on the other hand, could be a “red flag” alerting you to research the camp further. But if everyone you speak with has only negative things to say, then rule that day camp out, pat yourself on the back for taking the time to conduct a thorough investigation, and keep looking for a different camp.

    3. Involve your child in the decision making process

    Research shows that kids enjoy camp more when they’re included in the decision-making process. Since there are so many different types of day camps to choose from, it’s important to match your child’s interests and personality with the activities the day camp offers. Accordingly, it’s advisable to take a tour of the camp and/or attend an open house together with your child. After you’ve toured the camp, ask for your child’s opinion. This can be a much better approach than unilaterally deciding which day camp your child will attend without consulting them ahead of time, as asking for their input means they’ll probably have a more positive camp experience in the end.

    4. Tour the camp and meet the staff

    Most day camps hold open houses or organized facility tours during the prime camp enrollment season (generally springtime). These events are great opportunities for you to meet the staff, ask questions and see how the camp operates on a day-to-day basis. You might even decide to attend several camps’ open houses for a point of comparison and to see where you get the best “vibe.” In this author’s opinion, attending a day camp open house or touring the facility is the single BEST way to see what you’re getting into ahead of time.

    Camp is such a personal experience. You want your child to connect with his or her counselors on a personal level and admire them as leaders and role models. You owe it to yourself and your child to pick a day camp that your child will look back on later in life and say, “I remember that camp, and it was the best experience of my life!”

    Your child deserves the best. It’s your responsibility as a parent to put him or her in an environment where they can thrive, and choosing the right day camp can make this happen for you.

    Happy day camping!

    Copyright Eric Naftulin and Aloha Beach Camp. All rights reserved.

    Eric D. Naftulin is the owner/operator of Aloha Beach Camp, an aquatic sports summer day camp for kids and teens ages 4 to 15 in Los Angeles, California. Try Aloha Beach Camp and learn to surf, boogie board, wakeboard, jet ski and more.


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