Tips for Selecting a Summer Day Camp

camp

Many of us still have snow on the ground, others are bracing for still another wintery blast, which makes it hard to think about selecting a summer day camp. But, if you have a child that needs to be in an out-of school program during the summer recess, now is the time to do research to find the camp that meets your child’s needs and interests and is within your budget.

The American Camp Association offers the following guides when considering a day camp:

Day camps offer experiences that are unique from resident camps. Because of this, there are specific points to consider when choosing a day camp.

  1. Does the American Camp Association accredit the camp? ACA has specific standards applicable only for day camps.
  2. What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with young children?
  3. Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges for: · Transportation · swimming lessons · food service · horseback riding · group pictures · T-shirts · extended care · field trips
  1. If camp transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  2. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  3. If before- and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  4. Is lunch served or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  5. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons or is it simply recreational swimming?
  6. Are campers in a group with a counselor all day? Or, are campers free to go from one activity to another with appropriate supervision? In this case, whom would you talk to if you had a question or concern about your child?
  7. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  8. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Most frequently asked camp questions by children who will be attending day camp and how you might want to answer them:

What will I do all day? You’ll get to do so much — things like swimming, tennis, basketball, arts and crafts, softball or baseball, cooking, ceramics, gymnastics, soccer, dancing, football… the list goes on and on. There are also special events and entertainment.

Who will help me have fun at camp? How do they know how to care for me?
Counselors are selected because they love working with kids. They are trained before camp begins to help you have a good time, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of activities. Their job is to help you have fun, be safe, and know your limits.

Do I get to choose what I want to do?
Some camps schedule the entire day so you have an opportunity to try all the different things at camp. At many camps, you’ll get to select one or even more activities every day. You can ask about how the day is planned for you.

Who will be my friends?
You will make a lot of new friends at camp. Camp counselors will help you make friends the very first day you arrive at camp. It’s nice to have winter friends and summer friends.

What’s so great about camp?
Camp is a special place where grownups help kids feel good about themselves. You get to make choices on your own, but you always feel safe. Camp is like a little community, where everyone’s opinion is heard, and kids work and play together. There’s just no other place like camp, because camp is built just for kids!

Why shouldn’t I just stay home and do what I want?
You might think it will be more fun to just stay home and do nothing, but believe us, camp is nonstop fun! There are such a variety of activities that you never get bored. And you always have friends; everyone’s always home at camp!

What would a day at camp be like?
Camp is filled with different kinds of activities. The fun begins as soon as the bus picks you up. You will spend the day doing activities you really like. Of course you’ll stop for lunch – maybe a barbecue or a picnic. Day campers will go home on their buses in the late afternoon, and look forward to returning to camp the next day.

What if I’m not good at sports?
Camp staff will encourage you, and you will succeed at your level. You are never measured at anyone else’s ability level. Camp is not all sports, but a combination of athletics, the arts and hobbies.

What if I have a problem?
There are lots of people at camp, besides your counselors, to help take care of you, depending on what you need. There is usually a nurse, so if you don’t feel well they have a place where you can rest until you feel better. You can count on the grownups that are at camp to help you with any problem you may have.

Once you have answered these questions, visit ACA’s Camp Database to find a camp just right for your child. Parents may call ACA National Headquarters 800-428-CAMP8camp800-428-CAMP  for further information about specific camps or for the ACA section in their region. American Camp Association website…http://www.acacamps.org/.

 

 

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Kids with Knee Injuries Need Special Care

According to a study that appears in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, youngsters who injure the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee require special treatment and care to prevent future knee injuries and complications such as osteoarthritis.

kneeThe ACL is the main, stabilizing ligament of the knee joint. ACL injuries were once rare in children and young teens but are on the rise due to factors such as year-round training, less free play, and a focus on only one type of sport, say the researchers

They analyzed published studies to identify the best ways to treat ACL knee injuries in children and adolescents whose bones have not yet fully matured, which typically occurs in girls by age 14 and in boys by age 16.

Researchers found that youngsters with an ACL injury should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon who has expertise in surgical treatment of this type of injury. Their other recommendations included:

  • Nonsurgical treatment — including limits on physical activity and bracing and/or physical therapy — should be considered for patients with partial ACL tears that involve less than 50 percent of the diameter of the ligament
  • Management after surgery may include weight-bearing and physical activity restrictions, physical therapy, knee strength-training exercises and a gradual, careful return to sports.

The study author, Dr. Jeremy Frank, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., stated in a news release that complications from ACL knee surgery are rare in youngsters when the appropriate operation is performed on the right patient.

 

Facts about Kids and Sports

Safe Kids USA wants you to know the following key facts about kids and sports:

• More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in sports each year in the U.S.
• Nearly three-quarters of U.S. households with school-age children have at least one child who plays organized sports.
• Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries.
• Approximately two-thirds of all sports-related injuries leading to emergency department visits are for children.
The rate and severity of sports-related injury increases with a child’s age.
• From 2001 through 2009, it is estimated that there were 1,770,000 emergency department visits, 6 percent
of these for traumatic brain injuries, among children ages 14 and under for injuries related to sports or
recreation.
• Approximately one out of five traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.
• More than 90 percent of sports-related concussions occur without the loss of consciousness.
• The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness.
• In 2009, more than 365,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in emergency departments for either football or basketball-related injuries.

Proven Interventions that Can Protect Your Child when Playing Sports:

• Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should be well versed in the proper use of equipment and should enforce rules on equipment use.
• Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of concussion, particularly in sports such as football, skiing and snowboarding.
• Children should have access to and consistently use the appropriate gear necessary for each respective sport.
• Among bicyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders, wrist guards can reduce wrist injuries by up to 87 percent, elbow pads can reduce elbow injuries by 82 percent and knee pads can reduce the number of knee injuries by 32 percent.
• Proper hydration and recognition of heat illness signs and symptoms (such as nausea, dizziness and elevated body temperature) can help reduce the risk of severe sports-related heat illness.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children take at least one day off from organized
physical activity each week and at least two to three months off from a particular sport per year to avoid over training or burnout.

sports

Go to www.safekids.org for more information on keeping children safe while enjoying sports.

Health Tips from Those in the Know

healthSoccer Players

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these health tips for soccer players:

  • Stay in good physical shape, even in the off-season, with regular exercise and strength training.
  • Always warm up and stretch before playing.
  • Always cool down and stretch after playing.
  • Be sure to drink enough water before and during play.
  • Always wear proper safety gear, including shin guards and shoes with ribbed soles or molded cleats.
  • When the field is wet, use soccer balls made of synthetic, nonabsorbent materials, instead of leather.

Obese Youth and Gallstones

According to health information from the U.S Dept of Health and Human Services obese youth are an eight times higher risk of gallstones than youth who are not obese.

Young people should only rarely have gallstones. But doctors are treating more teens for the buildup of the hardened cholesterol-laden lumps in the gallbladder. Research finds that the risk of gallstones was higher in obese young people.

At Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, research scientist Corinna Koebnick looked at medical records of 766 10- to 19-year-olds with gallstones, “Obese youths have a much higher risk – up to 8 times higher – than their normal-weight counterparts.” Koebnick shared that parents and kids should get together on eating right and being moreactive.

This health study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

Losing is Necessary

The following guest post, “Losing is Necessary,” is from Coach Ned Campbell, head wrestling coach at James Madison High School, NYC, where he also teaches American history. http://madisongoldenknightswrestling.com/coaching-staff/

A little boy was asked how he learned to skate. ‘By getting up every time I fell down,’ he answered. (David Seabury)

Every year I find myself talking to a complete stranger about losing. Not just one stranger, but dozens of strangers. This is the life a high school wrestling coach, recruiting kids to make a choice to take a chance, at the expense of having to lose in order to get better. Not an easy sell.

The average 14 year old does not have the long view of life, that ability to see themselves way off into the future. Without that perspective, there is no up-side to losing. That means kids can give up quickly, or in some cases, not even try.

losing Losing can make one realize they have things to learn, to improve upon. Knowing what you do not yet know, what you, as of yet, cannot do, that sets the stage for self-improvement. It is the early stimulus to further develop a work ethic.

In a typical conversation with a freshmen, and I am approaching the little guys, the kids weighing less than 100 pounds, typically the kid chosen last, or maybe never chosen, for a team, the issue of “what if I lose?” comes up. I try to lighten the mood by jokingly telling him, “It is not ‘if you are going to lose,’ because you are going to lose, no doubt about that.” Everybody does when they start out. I tell them all I did my first year of wrestling in high school was lose. I didn’t start winning until my second year of wrestling.

I go on to tell him he will have some tough days, but those are the days that make us stronger, and better. Those are the days that teach us lessons, and motivate us to work harder and do more. The memory of those bad days are also what makes the good days you will have all the more sweeter.

Once the season begins, and the losing happens, the young athlete may begin to doubt himself. With a shaken confidence, they are likely to start acting more discouraged, and their resolve to keep trying may begin to wane and weaken. It is at this time when we, the coach and the parents, have to step in and help them stay strong, and to persevere. We can remind them of the long haul, but we must also focus on the positive accomplishments, and areas where there is improvement. However small it may be, improvement is a positive good and deserves to be talked up and commended.

One example I have of this took place just this past season. A freshmen and 1st year wrestler was having a difficult time. He was not wrestling much, and when he did get a chance, he lost quickly. He was looking dejected and I took a moment to speak with him. I asked him if he remembered his first week of practices, how he could not do the push-ups, keep up on the run, and how sore he was the day after practice. He said yes, and then I reminded him how today he was doing the push-ups, and keeping up on the runs. I let him know he had already lost almost 20 pounds, while getting stronger. As a smile started to creep across his face, I saw that he got it. He got the idea of the long haul of work paying off, over time. He could see the progress and make the link to his hard work all season. He liked it.

His improvement over time was not only limited to his physicality. He has opened up more among his peer group. He is walking taller, smiles more quickly, and is improving academically with much better grades than the prior term.

Life is not always easy. There will be some tough times, but that doesn’t mean life is complicated. Believing that “If you fall down, you get back up,” may not be easy, but with the support of positive adults, it can be quite simple, and it can make all the difference in the world.

For more on what you can do to help the young athletes in your life, please visit the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA): a national non-profit with the mission to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. http://www.positivecoach.org/our-tools/tools-for-parents/