NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Believe it or not, parents are already starting to think about which summer camps to send their kids to, because spaces are filling up fast.

American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Susie Lupert shared her advice with CBSN New  York this morning.

Lupert said camps have evolved over the years.

“We still hope that they’re going to have these great memories and just have the most fun summer that they possibly can, but summer camps have changed,” she said. “It really is about the social and emotional learning that a child can learn during the summer.

“It’s about unplugging from technology. It’s about learning amazing 21st century skills like independence and resiliency and communication,” she added. “It is a different ballgame out there for children growing up, and we think that camp provides this incredible opportunity to really hone in on this skills that they’re not getting in school.”

So how do you decide which camp is the best fit?

  • Call the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey (212-391-5208)
  • Check out the camp fairs that are being held in Manhattan and Brooklyn every weekend of the winter.
  • Choose a camp that’s accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed by the Department of Health,

“From there, it’s really about what do you want your child to get from camp this summer, what sort of skills do you want them to develop, what’s the philosophy of the camp?” said Lupert. “There’s a lot of different options, but we do think that there is the best camp out there for every child.”

At traditional camps, kids can learn a variety of activities, like swimming, archery, tennis, arts and crafts, theater, etc. Other camps focus on a particular activity.

“It’s important to know what are your child’s interests, what do you as a family want your child to gain from the summer, what skills do you want them to develop?” Lupert said.

Some camps span the whole summer, while others offer shorter seasons. Some cost more than others, but Lupert says there’s one for every budget.

For more information from the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, click here.

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