Making informed decisions about camps for your child

You might have icicles hanging from your windows at home, but it’s the best time of year to sign your child up for sailing camp!

Photo by Rock Hall YC Sailing School

Decisions, decisions

Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, are home to many quality summer kids’ programs, and plenty of them offer sailing opportunities. If they’re on the water this summer, kids will hone their sailing skills, build confidence, learn teamwork, and create lasting memories. Whether you want your child to acquire some seamanship skills, experience new challenges, or simply soak up some outdoor fun, summer sailing can’t be beat.

When deciding among a myriad of options, you must first ask yourself which type of program suits your young sailor best. Is he or she ready for a sailing-intensive camp, or would a program, such as a YMCA camp program with other activities in the mix, be best? Half or full day? Overnight or day camp? Is your child competitive and therefore suited to a racing program, or would a more casual all-around sailing and watersports program be better suited for his or her needs?

Photo by Rock Hall YC Sailing School

If your child is a beginner, there are many options for him or her; the same goes for experienced sailors and racers. In recent years, sailing-specific programs have widened their offerings to include other boating experiences, such as standup paddleboarding or windsurfing. Others seek to introduce the kids to a wide variety of hulls or teach them about nature and ecology or science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Ask your child if he wants a day camp or overnight experience, and think about how you’ll arrange transportation to and from the site. Talking to the director and to former campers and parents and visiting the facility are good ways to help you decide if a particular camp is right for your youngster.

If you’re new to this process, you should know that many yacht clubs (such as Hampton Yacht Club and Eastport Yacht Club) open their kids’ sailing camps to the public, and they’re quite popular and reputable programs. Community sailing programs, such as DC Sail or Youth Sailing Virginia, are very welcoming as well as safety-minded. All reputable programs have well-qualified and certified instructors (see “questions to ask”).

Continue reading 2019 Kids and Camps What You Should Know.

Courtesy of SpinSheet Magazine.