NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – While it’s just starting to feel like spring, the summer will be here before we know it.

For parents, that means enrolling their children in summer camp – both sleep away or day camp, and experts say you better act fast.

Connecticut eighth grader Isabelle Camli-Saunders, 13, is already getting excited for camp.

“You can become close with people you don’t normally get close with, and there’s people from all different towns,” she said.

She’s passionate about the dance and drama camp she goes to every year, which her mother, Laura, said fits their needs perfectly.

“I look for an entertainment value, an economic value, and that it’s going to cover the amount of time I need to work in the day,” she said.

While most kids will tell you camps is about having fun and letting loose, experts say deciding where they go is important, since their education doesn’t stop in June.

“We want to make sure that parents treat this seriously, as serious as they would with any other educational experience,” said Susie Lupert, executive director of American Camp Association New York and New Jersey.

Lupert said kids should always be involved in the decision, but ultimately it’s up to the parent to make sure it’s the best camp.

“Check the camps out. Parents don’t need to go visit 12 camps, but it’s great to visit one or two, especially if it’s a day camp and it’s local to your area” she said.

She also said you should look into the camp’s philosophy, ask about the staff-to-camper ratio, and question how well trained is the staff. Also know if your child is ready – day camp usually starts as early as three years old and sleep away camp is eight years old.

“Most importantly, are they accredited by the American Camp Association? We are the parent’s best evidence that a camp is really committed to the safety and well-being of a child,” said Lupert.

One last thing experts say you should do – ask a friend about their child’s summer camp. Word-of-mouth helps out in this situation.

If you want to get your kid into the perfect camp, experts say you should enroll them in the next two weeks.


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