While kids are still bundling up to go outside across most of the country, parents are beginning to sweat as they start thinking about what do with them this coming summer. More than 10 million kids from coast to coast attend some type of summer camp and this year, Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company sm (NYSE: LTM) will welcome more than 65,000 children aged 4 to 12 to its Life Time Kids “A Super-Powered Summer” camp experience full of action-packed adventures, activities and some of the best field trips around. In addition to the obvious safety considerations including background checks and a CPR- and first aid-trained staff, Life Time’s Senior Program Manager for Kids Activities Jenny Veres offers these top five considerations to ensure the best summer camp experience for kids and parents alike:
- What’s the routine: Summer is a time for kids to be active outside and engage in a variety of different activities. Find a camp that excites kids, provides an anticipated schedule and has a myriad of offerings. Since most camps include a wide range of age groups, understand what the camp has designed to keep kids of all ages and abilities interested. Life Time Kids has daily practices and routines, but also a different weekly theme and field trips ranging from attending baseball games to theme parks and bowling to water parks.
- Who are the counselors: You wouldn’t leave your child with just any babysitter, nor should you leave them with any camp counselor. Confirm that counselors are selected for the right job within the camp. All counselors at Life Time must go through an interview and audition process to make sure kids will receive a high quality of care and attention. Ask if camp counselors have previous experience with kids and/or if some are enrolled in childhood education or other kid-focused programs. Parents should also know the counselor-to-child ratio. While many states and day camp programs allow for a 1:20 on-site ratio, Life Time ensures a 1:10 ratio on-site and 1:7 ratio off-site. These higher standards help to ensure the safety and engagement of the kids.
- What will they eat: With the rise in childhood obesity and food allergies along with the overall importance of real food in daily diets, consider the food and snacks provided at camp. 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 children 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.
- Does the schedule work: While kids may have all the time in the world during the summer, most parents still have set schedules. Ensure that 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 their 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 the option to start or end their child’s day with a healthy meal at a reasonable price that can be enjoyed as a family — even after Mom or Dad has gotten their daily workout in.
- Can you stretch the budget: Finding a camp that offers a wide variety of activities that are unique and typically hard to find under one roof can stretch your dollar farther, versus paying extra for field trips or additional camp programs. Life Time camps offer swimming, gym games, rock climbing, arts and crafts, and more without having to get kids on a bus or paying additional fees. This can keep costs lower, keep kids more engaged, and help identify areas kids may want to explore further as they grow and develop.
Registration is now open at all 87 Life Time locations offering summer camps. The 2014 Life Time Summer Camp series, “A Super-Powered Summer,” will take on the evil villain known as summer boredom and feature different weekly activities and themes incorporating fun learning adventures, sports and water activities, arts, crafts, music and field trips.