It’s that time of year when many parents start thinking about how to occupy their kids’ free time once the final school bell rings. Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company sm (NYSE: LTM), provides truly unique summer camps for kids ages 4-12 at 80 of its locations around the country, and offers several tips for parents to consider when choosing what camp is right for their family.
“Every summer we welcome more than 65,000 kids to our Life Time Summer Camps —a responsibility we take very seriously,” said Jennifer Veres, National Senior Program Manager for Kids Activities at Life Time Fitness. “Safety, fun, health and variety are priorities for us and we’ve learned what it takes to create the best camp experience for kids and their parents.”
Life Time Kids offers these additional considerations for making the right camp decision:
- Safety: Ask questions in advance to ensure the camp has standard operating procedures in place to keep your kids safe. At Life Time, parents must show their membership card or driver's license to both check in and take their children home. Every employee should also have a state-approved background check and those working with kids should be CPR- and First Aid-certified. Parents will also want to know the counselor to child ratio. While many states and day camp programs allow for a 1:20 ratio, Life Time ensures a 1:10 ratio on-site and 1:7 ratio off-site. These higher standards help to ensure safety and engagement of kids.
- Activities: Find a camp that excites kids, provides a routine and has a variety of healthy activities for kids to engage in. This is critical for parents who don’t want their kids wasting away summer days playing video games for hours on end. Good information to learn includes what the balance is between a set daily routine and the type, level and variety of activities the camp has designed to keep kids interested. Life Time Kids has daily practices and routines but also a different weekly theme and field trip. Field trips range from attending baseball games to theme parks and bowling to water parks.
- Counselors: Confirm counselors are selected for the right job within the camp and have had background checks. Life Time selects counselors who will keep kids engaged in healthy, active fun, and are committed to building relationships with kids throughout the summer and not just looking for a summer job. It’s also worth asking if camp counselors have previous experience with kids and/or if some are enrolled in childhood education or other kid-focused programs. All counselors at Life Time must go through an interview and audition process to make sure kids will receive the highest quality of care and attention.
- Food/Snacks: Ask what types of food children are being served. With the rise in childhood obesity and food allergies along with the overall importance of real food in daily diets, Life Time makes healthy fun with its food and snack choices. Find out if the daily menu includes healthy options free of artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners, as well as free of trans fats and bleached flour. For those with food allergies, parents will want to ensure the camp has guidelines to protect children from food allergies. Life Time collects detailed medical information from parents before camp starts, and children with food allergies wear a colored bracelet that is checked prior to each meal or snack.
- Budget: Maximize the dollars spent. Parents should look for camps with a variety of activities that are unique and typically hard to find under one roof. Life Time camps can offer swimming, gym games, rock climbing, arts and crafts, and more, without having to get kids on a bus. This can keep costs lower, keep kids more engaged and help identify areas kids may want to explore further as they grow and develop.
- Schedule: Ensure the camp times from start to finish work for everyone. Many camps have forced times for drop-off and pick-up creating extra challenges. Life Time has extended hours to accommodate parents’ busy schedules and kids have the ability to participate in swimming lessons during their camp day, creating one less thing to do and/or place to go. In addition, the LifeCafe within each club allows parents to start or end their child’s day with a healthy meal that can be enjoyed as a family — even after Mom or Dad has gotten their daily workout in.
In 2013, Life Time Kids Summer Camp takes on “…And Action,” featuring weekly movie-based themes, adventures, activities and field trips from weird science to super sleuths, time travel to call of the wild, and battle challenges to creepy crawlers and more. Life Time will host its annual registration fair on March 2 and March 9 in Dallas, TX, and Tulsa, OK. For registration fair information, camp dates, times and pricing, Life Time Members should visit the Kids Activity Desk. Non-Life Time members should contact their local Life Time.