I LOVE our Summer Camps. It’s our goal to make every one of them unforgettable for every participant. We run our camps with a combination of experience and tremendous preparation; with a passion for working with kids and a genuine love for the game of basketball.
The foundation of what we do is build in the years leading up to this (education, qualification, certification, creating a teaching method, proving and improving that method). We rely on it, while learning every day. Quality is most important and we strive to get better every day, while giving our best. Because I feel that, as a professional, your best is the very least you can offer.
I’ve had the opportunity to observe several other camps that we shared a venue with. And as I saw these camps happen, I was kind of shocked at some of the choices they’ve made.
I saw coaches with their hands in their pockets. I heard coaches yelling at (young) players. I saw a 30-person single file line for ‘practicing free throws’. I saw big groups of kids going through drill after drill under the supervision of a single ‘coach’, who happened to be on his phone the whole time. I also saw the same game every day, where there are two players playing and twenty-something players watching.
I saw a lot more, but I didn’t want to write this blog to talk down to any camp or program out there. We’re in the same business and I respect that. Heck, they must be doing something right to have all those kids signed up, right?
But as I think about the parents who pay a lot of money to have their children attend a camp, I wonder:
Are you aware what and how they are teaching your child?
And very important: did you ask?
With the insane amount of camps out there, it can be difficult to find the good ones. So… just ask them! And don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Ask the things they DON’T advertise with.
Your child is important enough to make sure they’re in good hands.
Let me repeat that:
Your child is important enough to make sure they’re in great hands.
So here’s five questions that I think every camp director should be willing and able to answer:
- Who are your coaches and what makes them qualified to work with children?
Do they have an educational degree? How about First Aid? Did you check backgrounds? Coaching licenses?
Remember: “He/She played for X University!” is irrelevant to this question. This is about you feeling safe about putting your kids in good hands.
- What’s your coach-to-player ratio and why?
Make sure your child gets enough personal attention. The “why” is very, very important as this proves their position on the scale of “teaching your child” vs “making money”.
- How is the camp program set up? Why did you choose this set up?
Have they put actual thought into their methodology? Drills vs Games? Water breaks? Do they have pizza for lunch *cringe* or healthier choices?
- Could you tell me about your teaching method?
This is both about efficiency as it is about safety. What are the subjects of your drills? How do you establish a benchmark for my child’s skills? How do you assess them and how do you improve them? What’s the plan if injuries occur? How do you account for different skill levels in your campers? What are the teaching goals per day, for the whole camp and for individual campers? What does my child get out of this camp?
- What can you tell me about the facility?
This basically comes down to: where does their responsibility start and end, specifically? Did they do their due diligence or was this the cheapest option? Where do I bring my child? How do you make sure they are all present? Are their water fountains available? Is there a spot for the campers to put their belongings? Is there supervision when kids go to the restroom? How much space for how many campers?
Do you need specific details about everything? I don’t think so. There’s also no right or wrong, per se. But please make sure you get answers that you are comfortable with before sending your kids to spend days under their supervision.
And if a camp director can’t or doesn’t want to provide you with information you ask for… What does that tell you?
As far as our camps? Ask away!
Work hard, play smart, have fun!