By: Mary Giacalone “Scary Mary”
Well winter is over and summer is on its way. That means that many hockey parents are starting to look at summer hockey camps. Whether your child is a first time camper or a seasoned veteran, there are a lot of factors to think about when registering your son/daughter in summer hockey camps. So before you fill out the registration forms, here are eight things to think about when choosing a hockey camp:
From half day to full day to week long, hockey camps should have other sports and activities included in the agenda. Camps these days have activities galore, and with each of these activities comes the opportunity for your son/daughter to gain new skills, If your son/daughter is highly interested in working on a specific skill or activity, and then a specialty camp might be a good fit for them. There are great power skating camps, stickhandling, camps, defensemen camps, and goaltending camps. Camp activities are as diverse and unique as the very campers that attend camp, so be sure to find a camp that offers activities that appeal to your camper.
The hockey camp community is forever growing and expanding, which means you can find summer camps located in every city in Durham Region. With so many camps out there, there are likely several camps to choose from within a reasonable distance from where you live. On hot summer days, are there water activities or air conditioning to keep the kids cool? If the camp has a lot of rain days, how are activities modified to keep kids safe and dry? Ask the questions.
3) Session Lengths
Looking for a camp that offers week long sessions? Or is your son/daughter interested in spending the whole summer at different hockey camps? Each camp’s session lengths vary, so make sure the camp you are interested in offers sessions that fit into your summer plans. Nervous campers might opt for a shorter stay like a half day camp, while the more independent camper might prefer a full day hockey camp that offers 2-3 weeks. Either way, don’t be surprised when your son/daughter has such a great time at camp that they aren’t ready to come home at the end the day.
4) Staff to Skater Ratios
Hockey camp is a great place for the kids to build independence and get a great taste of freedom, but the concern on every parent’s mind is safety. The amount of supervision provided varies from camp to camp. -Some camps allow campers to enjoy unsupervised time while other camps require constant direct supervision. Ask about staff-to-player ratios. At my full day hockey camps we always have a ratio of 5 skaters to every instructor. This is super important for correction and detection on and off the ice.
Food is a highly important part of day to day life, and meal times play an equally important role in the camp setting. Does the camp take peanut allergies or any food allergies seriously? Do they make sure that the camp is nut free? Do they respect kids that are vegan, eat gluten free? If your son/daughter has any dietary concerns or food allergies, be sure to ask about any meals that are provided to the kids from the camp for your son/daughters safety.
6) Medical Resources
When your kids are at a camp all day, you hope that they will never need to seek out medical attention, but kids will be kids and accidents do happen. In case an illness or injury does arise, you will want to know how medical situations are handled and who cares for kids who run into medical problems. Does the camp have a trainer or coach who has medical training?
7) Staff Hiring and Training
Knowing how the on/off ice instructors of a hockey camp are hired and trained is important when choosing a camp. Your son/daughters instructor/counselor will likely become their next role model and best friend, so you might want to look into where the counselors come from. At Scary Skate only our trained on ice instructors get to work at the camps and be with the skaters.
You don’t need to break the bank to give your child an amazing summer hockey camp. A huge price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a better camp experience, so think about what you are willing to spend before you start shopping around. .
Although summer is still a distant thought, it is never too early to start planning an unforgettable experience for your kids. No matter what hockey camp you choose, your son/daughter will get a chance to challenge themselves, develop independence, and make countless new friends. While finding the right camp might be a challenging process, seeing the smile on your child’s face when they return home from camp will make the time and money spent so worth it.
The right hockey camp for your son/daughter is out there- time to kick the summer planning into gear and get ready for a great summer at hockey camp!
Until next time Scary Mary says see you at the rink…..