9 Apr3 Comments
This summer my husband and I are considering sending our 10 year old son Charlie to his first overnight summer camp experience. I know I am more nervous at the prospect than is Charlie! Thankfully, the camp experts — “counselors” — at Summer 365 are available to walk my family and me through this process!
Summer 365 is a summer camp placement service that makes the entire camp research, selection, registration and preparation process as painless and enjoyable as possible…at no additional charge to families! Their job is to make our job as parents easier. I was honored to interview Summer 365 founder and chief Summer 365 counselor Susan Kasnett and her daughter and fellow camp expert Lauren Kasnett about the nerve-wracking process of summer camp selection.
A Parent in Silver Spring: What exactly does Summer 365 do to help a family place their child in an overnight summer camp?
Susan Kasnett, Summer 365: We provide a dynamic service to our families. We can consult with parents and families via Skype, on the phone, in person, online. We are coaches and we are matchmakers to find the best camp for the child. It can be an overwhelming process to find the right camp, so we help make it easy and fun.
Mothers are always asking their friends for recommendations when it comes to kids’ activities. But with camps, what is good for one child may not be good for another. What we can do is customize the search. We evaluate what is available and what makes each camp special and unique. We schedule camp tours for parents, and we ourselves are constantly touring, personally visiting camps. We travel each and every summer so we can have hands-on experience of the camps, and we meet with camp directors throughout the year.
We are on hand so parents can differentiate from the multitude of camps. We are always looking to learn more about the camps available, and we have relationships with hundreds of camps – single sex, co-ed, you name it. This season we signed on 15 new camps and we are proud of the diversity of all the programs available.
We are here so parents don’t have to go it alone.
I cannot believe it is already April! Is it too late find a summer camp for our children for this summer 2014?
Susan Kasnett: It is definitely not too late for summer 2014! Some do fill up, sure. But the value of our service is that in only a couple of minutes, if parents call us, we can find a great place for their child. We know which camps are full and which have space.
Connect with Summer 365!
I know about day camps in the DC area, but I am completely clueless when it comes to summer camps. I usually sign my children up for specialty day camps in the summer — a week of chess day camp, a week of dance day camp. Do traditional summer sleep-away camps have similar activity focuses?
Susan Kasnett: For children age 8, 9, 10 — younger children in camp age — a more traditional camp is the best fit. Specialty camps that focus on just one area of practice or focus are usually for older kids.
Lauren Kasnett: Camps today have incredibly diverse and exciting offerings! We are seeing entrepreneurship workshops, camps focusing on health and wellness activities such as yoga, teaching farm to table food with gardening and cooking, science and technology, video game design, new exercise practices such as Zumba! Whatever your child is individually interested in, we can help you find a camp that offers it and offers even more activities that you can imagine.
Susan Kasnett: Camps have trapeze classes! Recording studios, photography, so many specialized activities. After a busy, sometimes stressful school year full of SAT preparation, studying for bar mitzvahs and lots of homework, being able to follow exciting and fun pursuits can be a dream for kids. Of course, if your child requires special tutoring during the summer, many camps offer that should you need.
Is 10 years old too young for summer camp?
Susan Kasnett: Absolutely not. Many kids begin at age 8 or even younger. Keep in mind that the camp experience ends by age 15, and we firmly believe that camp is an important part of a child’s education and development. If you know you are interested in “someday” having your children experience camp, do not start too young! By starting at 8 or as close to that as possible, you are setting your child up for the greatest success to integrate into the camp experience and find space at the best camp for him or her.
It is a well kept secret that camps are incredible for a child’s growth and development. Camping builds self esteem, self confidence, strength and creates incredible leaders.
I have to confess, we have not done a lot of sleepovers with our 10 year old. For his first camp experience, should he only stay for a weekend? Or a week? How does it work for a first-time camper?
Susan Kasnett: We recommend a two week minimum camp stay. We believe it takes a child 10 days to acclimate and learn the camp flow. We recommend at least two weeks for kids to get the full experience.
You can start having your child sleep out as practice for camp right now, but you will be very surprised at how ready your child already is for the camp experience. Lauren here was always calling me from sleepovers at friends’ homes, but she went off to camp at 7 and a half years old and she was a wonderful camper!
Won’t kids get homesick?
Susan Kasnett: It is shown that 97 percent of children do experience a small amount of homesickness. But you can prepare your child for that feeling by talking about it beforehand. As a parent, it is important to show confidence in your child’s ability to go to camp and do well on his own. Do not project fear of homesickness, project confidence.
Camps and their counselors are so well prepared for campers to be homesick. They have hours and hours of training to serve as true counselors for the children. And you will not believe how quickly that feeling will pass once your child becomes a part of the camp groove, and you will not believe how self-reliant and mature your children will come home after camp!
Lauren Kasnett: Many camps have rookie days and parent/child weekends where campers can see the camps in person. It is not a prerequisite to attending that camp, but these sneak peeks are great ways to see a camp’s energy and spirit. These experiences allow children to take the tour, check out the camp, practice sleeping out, and get involved in the entire summer camp process.
So there is absolutely no charge to use Summer 365?
Susan Kasnett: We provide a completely free serve to families! We receive a commission from the camps, not the parents, and working with us will not affect your tuition. We recommend parents contact us at the beginning of their camp search. Our dedicated team works year-round to provide you with all the information you need. We travel each and every summer to see the camps in person and to inspect the facilities, assess the programs, and meet with the directors.
Lauren Kasnett: We are also proud to have founded GIVE SUM because we believe that every child deserves the gift of summer camp. GIVE SUM is a special scholarship fund for families and inner city children who would otherwise not be able to afford to send their children to camp. For every child that we help place in one of our recommended camps or programs, in turn we will donate a portion of each commission we receive to GIVE SUM. And we Summer 365 Counselors donate our time to make sure as many kids as possible get to experience the magic of summer.
I am blown away! Thank you so much for this interview. What made you decide to found Summer 365 and its online placement service for families?
Susan Kasnett: I have been in the business of placing kids in camps for years, but Summer 365 takes us in a different direction.
Lauren Kasnett: I watched from afar what my mother has done so it is in my DNA! The stars aligned for me to join this family business, and it is incredible to create a business that serves and speaks to so many moms and new families. Providing an online resource makes us multi-dimensional and more relevant to working with young moms.
To find the perfect summer camp for your child (yes, for THIS summer!), contact Summer 365 today.
This interview was sponsored by Summer 365.
7 Apr Leave a Comment
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3 Mar Leave a Comment
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