Choosing A Performing Arts Camp – Before The Good Ones Are Full!

Even though it’s barely spring, it’s time to start planning summer camp activities. With four children of my own, I’ve seen my fair share of day and resident programs. Each child has different interests and hobbies, and as they grow, those same interests change. I am often trying to gauge the best camp for my children that will provide the fun and engaging activities they like, while I feel satisfied that they are gaining experiences (and let’s face it, that I’m getting my money’s worth!).

My youngest child is currently enjoying the performing arts. There are hundreds of these camps across the country. After looking at a few options, we really like Camp Broadway®. I found these helpful tips for choosing a performing arts summer camp, and they are worth sharing.

“There are so many options for when selecting the right performing arts program,” says Melissa Caolo, managing director of Camp Broadway.  “Before making any choices, parents and their kids should look at a variety of factors to help make an informed choice.”

Camp Broadway’s 7 key tips are:

1. Safety first. Make sure the program is taught in a clean and secure environment with clearly defined child safety procedures in place such as background checks for staff, adult supervision of children, medical protocols and meal/snack plan.

2. Credentials matter. Your first call should be to the local performing arts center to inquire about their youth and community programs. Read the biographies of the teachers to ensure that every member of the teaching staff is an experienced professional. Make use of media that may post reviews about programs that are of interest to you. A social networking site pertaining to the program is a reliable way to connect with parents and past participants who may be willing to share information about their own child’s experience.

3. Class size is important. Ask about the student/teacher ratio. As you may have discovered from your child’s educational experience, different ages require different ratios. To provide an optimal learning environment, a typical performing arts program will offer one teacher and one assistant to no more than 25 students.

4. Attitude is everything. Understand the mission and goals of the organization to determine if they complement your child’s age, ability and interests. Ask yourself if your child would be best served by a program that uses the performing arts to teach life skills or a program that teaches performing arts skills to aspiring professionals. Both approaches are equally valid, but the program experience can be very different.

5. Value vs Price. Weigh the reputation of the organization, the location of the program, the expertise of the staff and guest artists, the authenticity and quality of the content. It is also important to understand what is and is not included in the program including meals, merchandise, theatre tickets, etc. Prices vary greatly. However, as is often the case, an exceptional experience may be well worth a greater investment. Don’t forget to inquire about scholarship opportunities!

6. No guarantees. Be realistic and avoid promises of stardom or future employment.

7. Camp is fun. Many programs feature photos collections and videos on their website that will help you envision your child at camp. Participation in the performing arts as a child should be a joyful experience that produces happy memories, which will last a lifetime.

About Camp Broadway

Founded in 1995, CAMP BROADWAY® is Broadway’s Original Summer Program for theatre-loving kids. Proclaimed “The Camp of Dreams” by Live Magazine, Camp Broadway has hosted nearly 20,000 children at its annual summer programs in New York City, as well as cities such as Atlanta, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Providence and Tempe. Camp Broadway has been featured on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® telecast; performed with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall; and appeared in Broadway on Broadway®. Camp Broadway has worked with dozens of Broadway productions, estates and authors to develop interactive workshops that have enabled over 350,000 children to attend Broadway shows.   For more information, please visit www.campbroadway.com.

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