Parents: Summer camp advice from UH psychiatrist and former camp counselor

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It may only be March, but summer will be here before you know it.

Many parents are already thinking about what they'll do with the kids for summer. How do you know what camp is right for your child?

Dr. Vince Caringi is a psychiatrist for University Hospitals. He says he also spent many summers working as a camp counselor when he was younger.

Caringi says the key to finding the right camp that has an opening for your child is to start early and to find out how many campers return to the program you are interested in year after year.

"That retention rate will really talk highly about the experience the child had at the camp - not only the retention rate for campers, but of counselors. You want to know that your counselors are having a good work experience and want to come back," said Caringi.

If you can, tour the camp. If that's not possible, ask for a daily schedule, according to Caringi.

"You can often ask for a parent handbook so you can get to know a little bit of their ins and outs and the workings of the camp on a day to day basis," said Caringi.

Most importantly - choose a camp that will fit your child's interests.

"It's a great opportunity to help a child develop some confidence by highlighting what they are really good at," added Caringi.

Caringi says one of the best resources to find information about summer camps for your kids is Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. February's issue has tons of information you need about summer camps in our area.

Experts also recommend that whatever camp you chose, look for it to be accredited by the American Camp Association, and make sure the lifeguards are certified and the staff has proper CPR training.

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