Think of your child’s interests
Some kids are sporty, some are more academic. Think about what they like to do and choose a camp based on this. If you’re lucky enough to have the funds for two camps, perhaps choose one sporty one and one more crafty or skill-based. Think, too, about your child’s preferences in terms of social activity – do they like to run around and make friends? Or are they happier in a smaller group in a more quiet environment? Some camps offer a variety of activities, rather than just sport or craft; these can be a great option for smaller kids.
Check the staff
As part of a safe recruiting procedure, all staff working on a children’s camp should be garda-vetted, and there should be a strong child protection and supervision policy in place. Some of the more established camps stress that their staff are all fully compliant, but if in doubt, it’s a good idea to check out the situation yourself.
Suit your child
The activity offered by a particular camp is important, but so too is the level of staff interaction. Smaller children might need more supervision, or if a camp is based on a skill, you might want to check that the ratio of staff to children is small enough so your child will get the most out of the camp.
Camps can vary hugely in price. Ones that require lots of supplies can be more expensive, while others that need little in the way of equipment might be cheaper. Bear in mind the hours of a camp too – you may find that per hour, the cost is actually cheaper than your childcare option. There also might be discounts for siblings, so always ask if you have a few children interested in camps. There are some camps that are particularly good value for money, such as Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps, which are approximately €60 for one week, but drop to €35 if you book a second Cúl Camp for your child. There are also discounts for siblings attending the same camp. See the Kellog’s GAA Cúl Camp website for more details.
The rainy day option
If you are going for an outdoor camp, don’t forget our rather, ahem, soft Irish climate. Make sure there’s a decent alternative in place for rainy days – and if a camp is likely to be cancelled if the forecast is bad for the entire week.
Tempted to start your research? A great resource is the summer camp finder on Schooldays.ie – see here for more details.