Spectacular Summers Camp and Teen Programs Spectacular Summers Camps for Kids
Spectacular Summers About Ellen Wylie

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Why Spectacular Summers?

There are so many summer programs to choose from and tons of information available online. However, it can be overwhelming for a parent to distinguish the programs without talking to an advisor who has expert knowledge of a vast array of camps and summer programs. We know the programs and the directors. We travel extensively each summer, meet with the directors in the off-season and obtain detailed feedback from families whose children we place. Spectacular Summers spends time and attention with each family it works with. We help you narrow your criteria and focus on your objectives. We really care about trying to find the best fit for each child we place—and love what we do!

2. Shouldn’t I just ask my friends what they think?

Your friends may have opinions on camps and other summer programs. However, these are not always accurate and are often based on hearsay. Unless you have a friend who is a referral agent and extensively visits camps herself, your friends do not have the first-hand and expert knowledge of the programs that we do.

3. How do you work?

We start by having a telephone conversation with you. During that conversation, we will ask you a lot of detailed questions about your child and what you are looking for (to the extent you know at the outset) and listen closely to your responses. Based on the information you provide us with, we will suggest a few carefully selected programs and get you materials from them. We will follow-up with you, answer questions about the programs and get your feedback. We are accessible and happy to continue to consult with you for as long as you want help. Spectacular Summers will work closely with you and help you decide which program is the best fit for your child.

4. Do you charge a fee?

Our service is free to parents. We will get a fee from the camp or summer program you select if we recommended it to you. Using our service will not affect the cost of your tuition and there is no obligation on your part to choose a program that we suggest.

5. If you get a fee from the programs, are you still objective?

Yes—we are totally objective and professional. Our recommendations are never influenced by commissions or fees. Spectacular Summers works with hundreds of wonderful summer programs. It is always our goal to find the best fit for each child.

6. Shouldn’t I just pick the same camp my friend did?

No. Your child is unique. Different children have distinctive personalities, needs and interests. Just because your friend likes a program for his/her child,it does not necessarily mean that the camp will be the perfect fit for your child.

7. How do I differentiate the programs when the dvds start to look the same?

That is why you are using us. We know the culture and feel of the programs and how they differ.

8. How will I know that my child is ready to go away to camp?

Factors to look at include your child’s age (i.e. many children start overnight camp at 9 or 10; some children are ready at 8; some will not go until older. Each child is different), gender (girls are often ready to go to camp earlier and it is sometimes more difficult for them to break in later), whether your child is interested in going away to camp, whether they do sleepovers with friends or relatives and how independent they are.

9. Is my child too old to start camp/change camps?

While it can become more difficult for a child to start or change camps when s/he is older, that is not always the case. Even if your older child is not an outgoing one, it doesn’t mean that they have missed the boat with sleepaway camp, We know which camps are easier for new children to walk into. In addition, we know other age appropriate summer options for tweens and teens.

10. When should I begin my search?

The earlier the better, but it depends on what type of program you are looking for. If you are interested in a full-season camp for example, many families start 12-18 months ahead of time. Short session camps tend to fill later. The same is true for teen programs. Some camps and teen programs offer early enrollment/payment incentives.

11. Is it necessary to visit camps before I choose?

For those families who start early enough, we suggest that they visit a few (and not too many) camps in session the summer before. It helps parents get a feel for the camp and whether they can envision their child there. It also helps to give a child a comfort level (and hopefully get him/her excited) to see his/her camp in action the summer before. Please keep in mind that camp visits are by appointment and camps have limited slots for tours available. However, not all families are able to visit the summer before. Many families make wonderful camp choices without visiting the camps. Please do not worry if you can’t visit. We visit camps every summer and will share our expert knowledge and impressions with you.

12. Am I too late to find a camp or teen program for this summer?

No. While not every camp or summer program will still have space well into the spring, there are always some excellent programs that have space. We can help you find them.

13. Should I send my child to camp with a friend from home?

We do not generally suggest that parents send their child to overnight camp with a friend from home. The benefits of going away to camp are immeasurable and include becoming independent and more self-confident and making new friends. The experience is different when a child goes with a friend from home (and doesn’t always work out so well). If you send your child to the same camp as a friend, you may at least want to consider placing them in separate bunks.

14. What should I consider in choosing the right camp for my child?

Factors to consider include, but are not limited to, your child’s age, personality, interests, any special needs, your budget, geographic preferences, session length, whether you prefer a coed, single sex or brother-sister experience for your child, program flexibility and scheduling (how elective do you want the program to be?), facilities, activities, diversity of population, qualifications of the staff to whom you will be entrusting your child, how the camp deals with issues like bullying and homesickness and how they help new campers acclimate.

15. What is ACA accreditation?

Unlike state licensing which is mandatory, accreditation by the American Camp Association (ACA) is voluntary. Accredited camps are reviewed regularly by the ACA on up to 300 industry-recognized and government standards relating to health and safety, program quality and camp operation.

16. What should I ask when I speak to a director?

Find out about the philosophy of the camp and type of campers who thrive there. Ask where the campers come from, camper and counselor return rate, the director’s background, staff hiring and training, camper-counselor ratio. Ask about medical facilities (both at camp and nearest hospital), transportation, scheduling, how the camp handles food allergies/other special needs, the camp policies on phone calls, packages and emails, rainy day activities, transportation, the camp's safety record, extra costs—and anything else that is important to you.

17. What should I look at when I visit a camp?

Look at the facilities, including the cabins, dining hall and health center. Meet some campers and staff members. Observe personal interactions between campers and staff (is the staff attentive and encouraging? Are all of the campers involved?), the level of supervision and instruction. We will talk to you about other things you want to concentrate on before your visit.

18. What is the best camp or teen program?

What is best for one child is often not the best program for another. Spectacular Summers will help you prioritize which factors are important to you and help you select the best camp or teen program for your child.



We felt comfortable,
trusting & well-guided
through the
whole process