Choosing a Camp for your Child

Attending summer camp can be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences in your child's lifetime!  

They will learn new skills, make new friends, gain self confidence and independence, and experience the great outdoors while keeping physically active.  There are so many positive factors to sending your kid to camp and we have so many options for great camps in Alberta.

How can you decide which camp is best for your family and camper?

With hundreds of camps ranging from day camps, residential, and out trip camps focusing on from activities like horseback riding, canoeing, mountaineering, to art, drama, and science there is a lot to choose from. Think about what you and your camper want in your camp experience at camp.

What are the activities and interests your child would like to explore?

Talk with your child and ask them what kind of activities they would be interested in.  Are they athletic and love team sports?  Consider a sports camp over a science camp.  Would they love to try new things like canoeing or horseback riding?  Choose a camp with these options.  It's important to choose a camp with activities the child is interested in, over what the parent is interested in.

To find out what activities or type of camp that would fit with your child best, visit the Alberta Camping Association's camp directory.

What do you want your child to gain from camp?

Camp offers opportunities for your child to learn and develop new skills.  Beyond developing skills through outdoor education and other specialized activities, your camper will learn independence, develop self confidence, enhance their social skills, and even their ability to follow instructions.  Decide what you and your child would like to gain from camp and choose a camp that will help you achieve that.

Do you have any special physical, emotional, or mental needs?

Does your camper require handicapped accessibility, extra supervision or specialized medical attention while at camp?  Check with the camps to find out about special programs and accessibility.

What TYPE of camp would be best for your camper?

There are overnight camps, day camps, religious camps, private camps, agency sponsored camps, special needs camps, and municipality camps.  Is your child ready for an overnight camp or should they stick with day time programs?  Would you like you child to learn with a religious focus?  Do they require a special needs camp or a camp for children with illness?  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different camp options.

Learn more about the different types of camp available in Alberta.

What location works best for your camper and family?

Would you like your camper to attend a camp close to home?  Would your camper like to explore an urban setting, the Rocky mountains, or a wilderness lake?  Camps can be searched by their regions in the Find A Camp section!

What camp will work best with your family’s schedule and family vacation time?

Many camps offer a variety of programs available at different times during the summer.  Some camps even have a variety of camp lengths.  Visit different camp websites and don't be afraid to contact them ask if they have shorter or longer camps available.

What is the total cost for the camp? 

Of course, you must choose a camp that is within your price range.  Most camps will have their registration fee posted on their websites.  Consider additional costs like transportation to camp, any special equipment or supplies your child will have to bring to camp, or money required for purchasing snacks or items at the camp store.  You can find out this information by contacting individual camps. 

If you have more questions feel free to call the camp office.  Their staff or Camp Director would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  Further still, you can ask your friends, family, and neighbours about their camping experience.  Perhaps they have a camp to recommend or can help you with your research.   If you think you have the right camp in mind, talk to others to see how they found their experience there.

Remember that all of the ACA’s member camps have been accredited with the big stamp of ACA approval!  That means they reach a high level of standards and follow strict protocols to make sure your child is getting the best experience in the safest environment.  These standards are related to things like site, facility, administration, leadership, health, food service, and programming.   If you have any questions regarding choosing a summer camp for your child feel free to contact the Alberta Camping Association at

Categories: For Parents