4 Tips for Choosing Bay Area Summer Camps, from a Pro

As the summer sun begins to brighten the skies over the Bay Area, many parents find themselves caught in the annual whirlwind of selecting the ideal summer camp for their children. With camps covering a vast array of interests from sports to language immersion, academics to arts and crafts, the decision can often seem overwhelming.

In an era where extracurriculars are as diversified as ever, how do parents ensure they’re making the right choice?

Coach Jerome Gumbs, a professional coach and founder of Empower ME Academy, a basketball-focused camp in San Francisco, has some pro tips (literally) for streamlining the process. He recently shared four of his tips with the Bay Area Telegraph.

1) Reflect on the Camp’s Mission and Values

This is perhaps the most crucial aspect, according to Gumbs. The camp’s philosophy should resonate with your child’s personality and interests. It is essential during these formative years that children find environments that aid their growth, teaching values like empathy and leadership.

2) Evaluate the Variety of Activities

Camps that hyper-focus on a single aspect can risk monotony. A balance of activities is key to keeping children engaged and enthusiastic. Look for camps that offer a blend of activities. For example, EMA integrates basketball drills with yoga and breathing exercises, creating a holistic experience that transcends the scope of traditional sports camps.

3) Involve your Child in the Decision-making Process

Your child’s input is vital. Given the cost of many camps, it’s important to ensure that your child will genuinely enjoy the experience and be eager to participate every day. Present them with a balanced perspective, discussing the pros and cons of various options. Most importantly, be open to their opinions and preferences.

4) Explore Tuition Assistance Options

Don’t let financial constraints limit your child’s interests. If your child has a strong desire to attend a specific camp, investigate whether it offers financial aid. This information may be available on their website, but if not, don’t hesitate to ask the camp director directly.

Summer camps offer a unique opportunity for children to explore new interests, build skills, and form friendships. As a parent, navigating the landscape of options may seem daunting, but with Coach Gumbs’ tips, you can confidently select a camp that will provide a transformative and enriching experience for your child. Here’s to a summer full of discovery, growth, and most importantly, fun!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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