Gymnastics Camps, love them or hate them, they are a reality and here to stay. Camps can help recapture the love of the sport for gymnasts after a long competition season. They can help the gymnast get themselves set up, get a jump start on next season and they can even help the gymnasts work through a block. I am always amazed when I see a coach at a camp give one of my team gymnasts a correction I have given a million times and the kid makes the correction for them! Another positive attribute about camps is that the gymnasts that have attended camps always seem to be a lot more comfortable in competitions because each meet they see friends from camp.
We all know the down side of camps, over reliance on spotting, teaching “tricks” instead of progressions. So my question is – Why don’t you go to camp with them? And if you can’t go, why not send another coach from your gym. Give them an opportunity to learn.
Finding the right gymnastics camp for your gymnasts is important. After all, they will be attending the camp to learn new skills, have fun, try new things, make friends and hopefully create memories that will last a lifetime.
The first place to begin your task of choosing the right gymnastics camp is to gather as much information as possible about the camps you are considering. Here are some guidelines.
1. Start Early!
Ideally, begin your camp search the fall before your team will attend camp. This provides the time to tour camps, see them in action, and meet camp directors and other staff.3. Consider and List Camp Expectations.
2. Determine what type of camp you will need for your team’s particular situation. Ask yourself, “what does the ideal camp experience include for me and for my team?”:
- Unparalleled fun and learning?
- The opportunity for new experiences?
- To develop new skills?
- List your expectations.Which are non-negotiable and which are preferences?
3. What are the staff’s qualifications?
It’s important to know who will be caring for and coaching the gymnasts. Starting from the top, what are the director’s qualifications and is he/she respected in the gymnastics community? What is the instructor’s caliber of coaching? Do the camps have any Olympic, international, national and/or collegiate coaches on staff? Does the camp staff go through any training in spotting or teaching of the latest gymnastics techniques? Is the camp staff USA Gymnastics Safety Certified? A big mistake coaches make is to take a team to a camp they wants them to experience, not the child. Don’t make your gymnasts miserable by signing them up for something they are not going to enjoy. You may have a brand new group of Level 4s who really want to do gymnastics 6 hours a day. BUT- you may also have a group of gymnasts who can not handle that work load. Make sure you know what you are getting into.
4. What is the budget for camp tuition for your average family?
Many camps offer team discounts, tuition assistance, and programs where the coach can come and stay free
5. Determine if the program is American Camping Association ACA accredited or state licensed.
Camps are unique worlds unto themselves, created especially for children and full of fun and learning. Not all states require camps to be licensed. This is very important information to know about the summer camp you as there are different standards that must be met in order to be state licensed or ACA accredited.
If the camp is ACA accredited, this means their program has undergone a thorough review and met up to 300 standards in terms of staff qualifications and training to emergency management. Furthermore, their standards exceed state licensing requirements. ACA accreditation is excellent evidence that a camp is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment. Look for the ACA-accredited camp logo on a camp’s website, in their literature or displayed on a sign posted at camp; this is the most important logo a summer camp can show.
6. Use All the Resources Available
Ask for recommendations from friends or look for feedback or reviews on the web for the program your child is interested in. If you can find someone who has been to a particular summer camp that you find interesting, it would be wise to try and get some feedback as to what their experience was to aid in making an informed decision with your team.
Many camp marketing materials are easy to review online; others are easily requested. Look carefully at the ways camps present themselves online and in print.
Some very important questions to ask:
What is the cost and what are you getting for your money?
How many Hours a day of training?
What are the facilities?
Coach to Gymnast Ratio?
Does the camp have campers set weekly skill goals and evaluate their progress?
What other activities are there?
What type of supervision will the gymnasts be getting? Find out what amount of interaction your child will have with his/her camp counselor. Will the counselor be living in the cabin with your child and staying throughout the night? Will the counselor eat meals with your child? How accessible will the counselor be if your child has a question or gets homesick?
What type of medical staff exists at the camp? Are there doctors, nurses and/or athletic trainers?
Do you have a summer camp (good or bad) you want to share? Keep the momentum going. CONTACT