Camp questions :What to know about CA’s camps before signing your kids up for summer fun

By David Greisman

Summer seems far enough away, it still being February and all, and yet this is the prime time to begin thinking about what your child will do when schools let out and the days are suddenly wide open.

One of the best ways to have a memorable summer is at Columbia Association’s camps, which range from recreational to educational, from artistic to athletic, with options available for pre-K all the way through 10th-grade. (For a full guide to the 16 summer camps, visit ColumbiaCamps.org.)

It can be hard to decide where to enroll your child in camp. We sat down with camps manager Charlie Thomas and assistant manager Shelley Wilson to answer some frequently asked questions that show why CA’s camps are a great choice.

What does CA Camps do to keep my kids safe?

Columbia Association’s camps go beyond the regulations put forth by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. CA is accredited by the American Camp Association, the highest-possible standard in the camp industry, which has peer-reviewed monitoring of more than 300 health and safety standards.

CA’s camp, supervisory and administrative staff are teachers and other professionals who are experienced with children. They are subject to background checks and receive a  minimum of 24 hours of pre-camp training each year, including safety, how to respond to a wide spectrum of situations, and preparing for the fun activities that your kids will participate in. CA also uses specialists for certain activities such as canoeing, archery and rock climbing.

What if I want something for my child besides outdoor activities?

CA has several options for you!

Art Camp allows kids to explore their imaginations and experiment with colors, textures, mediums and performance methods through daily projects and lessons. Art specialists teach visual and performing arts processes, including printmaking, painting, 3-D design, collage, drawing, clay works, puppetry and skit creation.

Camp C.O.O.K. — Culinary Outreach Opportunities for Kids — is our newest camp expanding kids’ skills in the kitchen as they prepare recipes and learn about food handling, kitchen safety and healthy meal planning.

Camp Make a Difference combines recreational and volunteer experiences with at least four volunteer projects over the course of the week, plus plenty of time still for swimming and playing.

S.T.E.A.M. Innovators provides students with opportunities to explore S.T.E.A.M. disciplines — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — in a fun-filled environment.

Does CA offer camps for kids with disabilities?

Yes! Access to Nature Camp is an inclusive program for campers with disabilities, modifying Nature Camp activities for their enjoyment while they participate alongside their peers in canoeing, archery, fishing, sports, crafts, recreational swimming and more.

Does every camp go the pool?

Of course! What would summer camp be without a chance to cool off, swim and play with your friends? Thankfully CA has 23 outdoor pools to help make that possible. In addition to CA’s highly trained lifeguards, our staff are assigned to help monitor the safety of kids both in and around the water.

Does CA offer any discounts?

We do! And now is the perfect time to sign up. Receive 10% off if you register by Feb. 28.

CA also offers reduced rates — 50 percent off and 75 percent off — for qualified families based on federal income guidelines. We want to help make sure that kids are able to enjoy their summer without their parents’ income being a barrier.

Learn more at ColumbiaCamps.org or call 410-715-3165 for more information.