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CHESTERCOUNTY-LIFE.COM MarchApril 2016 121 Specialty camps are the hallmark of school-based summer camps because most schools already have an excellent academ- ic program base and audience to attract parents and students. Today the special- ties seem infinite. Major categories include academic enrichment science technology engineering art theater music and sports. Academic enrichment camp programs are designed for improving study habits and skills preparing for exams earning course credits and excelling in a specialized field of study such as engineering science or mathematics. Programs can be as specialized and focused as filmmaking fashion design building computers or even forensics. Many school-based camps are private schools and faith-based schools. Because of these characteristics heritage tradition and established networks facilitate opportunities for summer camp students to travel nation- ally and globally as part of their camp pro- gram experience. School-based summer camp programs stand out because of the ability to offer a depth of multiple programs where a com- bination of a unique variety of individual programs can be selected and combined sports academic enrichment specialties and travel. The opportunity to select from many options and customize a summer camp ex- perience results in sustained motivation fun entertainment inspiration challenge and development. School-based summer camp programs are an excellent way for children to get ex- posed to the environment of schools they may be considering for future enrollment. And children with excellent or exception- al abilities and skills have the opportunity to get on the radar screen of a particular school and its administrators teachers and coaches. SELECTING A SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM The selection process may be a casual ap- proach a formal methodical effort or a combination thereof. A suggested approach is the use of a summer camp needs check- list. Reviewing a comprehensive checklist of needs helps you identify and prioritize summer camp needs. Once needs are clearly identified and weighted you have an ob- jective basis for evaluating summer camps and making a selection of the best fit camp for your child. Reviewing a comprehensive list ensures that all summer camp needs are identified and then subsequently ranked in terms of priority. The checklist on page 118 although not intended to be exhaustive is a useful guideline for getting started with the selection process. CLOSING SUMMARY The wonderful range of summer camps to choose from is enormous and the list to se- lect from can seem overwhelming. However there are certain trends and by understand- ing or becoming better acquainted with these trends the selection process may be- come a little less challenging. There are three main camp categories specialized camps school-based camps and traditional camps. Traditional summer camps are mainly a form of vacation over many weeks or nearly the entire summer where children meet new friends and enjoy a wide range of adven- tures and recreational activities. Specialized camps concentrate on very specific areas of interest and are intended to develop specific skill sets. Specialty camps are the hallmark of school-based summer camps because most schools already have an excellent aca- demic program base and audience to attract parents and students. The summer camp se- lection process may be a casual approach a formal methodical effort or a combination thereof. A suggested approach is the use of a summer camp needs checklist. CCL SUMMER MATTERS Summer Matters offers a continuum of innovative programming for learners with special needs 5-21 years of age. Programs are of varying formats and lengths and build on campers interests to help them succeed learn and grow. Summer Matters is headquartered in Malvern and is a program of Valley Forge Educational Services. Programs include Summer Voyagers is a program designed for children 5-12 years of age who despite many strengths may be experiencing learning challenges in school. Summer L.I.F.E. provides supported recreational opportunities for campers 8-21 years of age. ESY at The Vanguard School is a specialized skills maintenance program for eligible students 5-17 years of age. VTC Summer Experience focuses on the development of daily living skills vocational training and post-secondary education for young adults 18-21 years of age. SummerMatters.org