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You desperately want your child to take part in summer camp fun, but you don’t want to choose the wrong environment. How can you tell the duds from the stars? There are warning signs of a bad summer camp you should be on the look out for!

First and foremost, you should know that you made the right decision in allowing your child to experience summer camp. ACA Camps outlines the psychological benefits your child will gain over the next few months, and Mom Steam can walk you through other (less obvious) benefits.

Regardless, placing your child in the right summer camp can be hard. These five warning signs of a poor summer camp should help you make your decision. 

Warning Signs of a Bad Summer Camp

The camp has faced a scandal in the past.

 We’ve all heard about horrific summer camp scandals between counselors and children. If you’ve heard a single bad story with an ounce of credibility, don’t take the chance that you could be wrong. Find another summer camp.

It always helps to ask around your community for information regarding the reputation of a local camp. Chances are, if the camp is popular enough, at least one or two of the people in your circle will know someone who attended.

You should take gossip with a grain of salt, but you can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of your child. If you hear something bad about a potential summer camp, don’t crucify the staff members or company. Just look for something that makes you more comfortable. 

Your questions aren’t being answered. 

You have legitimate questions about the experience your child will have at a potential summer camp – but your questions are being dodged. You’re starting to wonder if the staff members at the camp simply don’t want to give you bad answers. It’s hard not to feel like something is being hidden from you. Unless a summer camp is completely transparent, comfortable, and prepared to answer your questions, don’t send your child to it.

You aren’t able to get in contact with your child as needed.

 This is a warning sign that many parents don’t think to explore. Is there a community phone where your child can contact you, in case he or she is uncomfortable? Are cell phones allowed, if a community line isn’t available? Cell phones can sometimes ruin the ambiance of wooded-area summer camps, but parental locks can keep them from becoming a distraction. The most important thing is that your child can reach you if something goes wrong, and in turn, that you can reach your child. 

Your child doesn’t know anyone else attending the camp. 

You haven’t heard any horror stories, but you also don’t know anyone signing up their child for the same summer camp as you. This feels like a red flag because it probably is. Unless an extremely popular summer camp has taken over the area, there’s likely a reason why parents are avoiding a single camp. Find out why – or allow your child to attend a camp where he or she will see some familiar faces.

You have a bad feeling.

 Every parent has instincts. If your instincts are telling you to walk away from a potential summer camp, don’t feel bad about doing so. Most communities have two or three summer camp options, if not more. You can afford to be picky when it comes to the overall safety of your child.

Still having a hard time finding warning signs? Fox59 offers some interesting insights on both childcare centers and summer camps.

You have enough to worry about when your kids are out in the world without your supervision. You will no doubt be concerned that they might be experimenting with things they shouldn’t be or making poor decisions that you’re unaware of. You don’t need anything else to worry about. Take your time and choose a camp that makes you comfortable and watch out for warning signs of a bad camp. In doing so, you’ll ensure that your child is comfortable too.

This was a guest blog post courtesy of Alex Robbins from Safetytoday.org.