What to Look for in Youth Athletics Camps

If your child aspires to be a collegiate athlete or compete at the professional level, youth athletic camps are a great way to help them develop their skills while experiencing new coaching styles and meeting like-minded athletes from diverse backgrounds. How do you ensure you are choosing the right sport camp for your child? Here are a few items to consider when researching potential camp programs for your child:

Instructors: What organization is running the camp? Who are the coaches and staff? The value that your child takes away from their camp experience will be largely dependent on the level of instruction they receive. The coaches at IMG Academy have experience coaching and competing at collegiate, professional, and Olympic levels, and they bring that same level of experience to the athletes they instruct.

Helpful Tip: If you come across a camp that's advertising a celebrity "coach," ensure that the former professional or coach is going to be in attendance. Some programs will leverage their name and curriculum without that individual actually being physically present at the camp.

Athlete-to-Coach Ratio: If a sports camp isn't properly staffed for the number of campers they enroll, the athletes won't receive the necessary level of attention needed to properly address each individual's needs and abilities. The lower the athlete-to-coach ratio, the better the personalized instruction that your child will receive. Camps that provide time for one-on-one instruction with coaches to evaluate your child's skill level, address specific trouble areas, and strengthen specific aptitudes are typically the most beneficial.

Facilities: Youth athletic camps are hosted at many different locations that can vary anywhere from high school gymnasiums to state-of-the-art facilities. IMG Academy, for example, is a world-class campus with professional-grade sports facilities and accommodations as well as the most up-to-date technology. The type of camp facility you choose to send your child to will directly correlate to the caliber of instruction you want them to receive. Most importantly, you should also ensure that the facility is up to code, well maintained, and properly equipped for all of the camp's activities so that your child is safe.

Menu: When your child is away at sports camp, they will need nutritious meals to fuel them before, during, and after their day. While it is ideal to choose a camp where nutritionists are on staff, at the very least parents should ensure that their child's meals will be prepared by a professional cooking staff. You may also ask for a sample menu so that you can understand the types of meals and snacks that will be provided to your child. Also, ensure that the camp can accommodate any food allergies or needs that your child may have. Some camps, including IMG Academy's year-round programs, even include nutrition programs that teach campers about the best foods for fueling themselves before competition, what to eat for recovery, fueling timelines, hydration, and more.

Supplemental Training: If your child plans to eventually play at an elite level, there are other skills they will need to learn outside of just how to play their sport. Some of the best sports camps will also provide nutrition education, mental conditioning, leadership, and vision training.

Camp Success: There's no better way to measure a camp's quality than by the athletes who have previously attended it. A true testament to a camp's quality and effectiveness is its alumni, so it's helpful to ask who attended the camps that you are researching. Another important statistic you may choose to inquire about is the camp's return rate. Kids who enjoy their experience and gain value from it will want to return.

"The IMG Camp Experience is great for those that have desire to be their best, are dedicated to their sport and have passion for hard work. The experience is challenging and rewarding for our attendees. Many of our campers stay connected to our coaches over time to stay in tune with developmental best practices and to simply build on the great relationships that are created within our programming," said Jason Elias, Associate Athletic Director at IMG Academy.

Testimonials: A great way to learn about a kids' sports camp is by word of mouth. Research the camp by looking up reviews on Facebook, Google, and other sites, and the camp itself may even be able to provide you with references from former campers and their parents.

As a parent of a child who plans to play collegiate or professional sports, you certainly want to provide them with all of the resources needed to be prepared and successful. Youth athletic camps are a great way to supplement the training that your child receives from their school or community sports team or club. IMG Academy is proud to offer one of the most elite youth sports camps in the world and is located on a state-of-the-art campus in Bradenton, Florida.

How Do Athletic Camps Benefit Your Child?

 Sports camps are a great way for your child to work on their athletic skills while also preparing to become a collegiate student-athlete. While athletics camps or other sport-specific program allows your child to improve their skills, there are also other benefits that will help them when applying to and attending college as well as later in life.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Live Away from Home
The majority of students leave their home, bedroom, and other surroundings that they are familiar with to go to college. As you're aware, this step in their lives also means that they are going to be living apart from you, their parent, and will be living in close quarters with new personalities that come from a wide range of different backgrounds. Although a beneficial and impactful decision, this move can be quite a shock to a child that hasn't lived away from home before. Kids who grew up going away to sleepaway camps during the summer will be more prepared when moving away for college. 

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Live with Others
When kids go away to an overnight camp such as a sport-specific athletics program, they encounter a wide range of new personalities and other children who come from extremely diverse backgrounds. After sharing living quarters, bathroom facilities, and other communal spaces with so many different people, your child will be better-prepared for the challenges that may come with having roommates or suitemates when they go to college.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Accept Change
When your child arrives at camp, their bunk, cabin mates, and perhaps even their daily schedule will already be assigned to them. Daily activities can change any moment based on anything from weather to facility conditions to staff availability. Even their daily meals can present new experiences if your child is presented with food they aren't familiar with. When your child learns from an early age that they don't have control over every aspect of their daily lives, they will be better prepared as young adults to roll with the punches and be flexible when facing change. 

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Support Each Other
Whether it's loaning out a sweatshirt because a cabin mate forgot to pack one, consoling a fellow camper who is feeling homesick, or teaching a new skill to other campers, kids at camp learn to support one another. When your child reaches the collegiate level, these traits will translate to them being willing to help their roommate or classmates as well as also being more willing to ask for help when they need it themselves.

Kids who go to camp, whether it be a sports camp or other type of overnight camp, also learn how to work together as a team, which is a big asset when joining a collegiate athletics program. A student-athlete who has experience working with other kids from diverse backgrounds will bring that experience to their team, helping to create an overall positive team environment to the program.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids to Live Outside of Their Comfort Zones
From living away from home to meeting new people and possibly even trying new food, going away to overnight camp will teach your child to step outside of their comfort zone. If your child has already had this experience, then, when they go away to college, they will face less of a culture shock and be better prepared for new experiences that may come at the collegiate level.

Overnight Camp Attendance Can Pad Your Child's College Application
Kids who go to camp learn independence, self-reliance, and leadership skills, as well as the specific set of athletic skills they will continue to develop by attending a 
sports camp. These characteristics will allow your child's college application to stand out to collegiate sports recruiters. College coaches look for prospective athletes who have been to sports camps because they know those students will be better equipped to be independent once enrolled.

Do you think an athletics camp would be a beneficial experience for your child? IMG Academy offers a wide range of sport-specific camps throughout the year that help your child hone their athletic skills while living away from home with other children from a wide range of backgrounds. Contact us today to request more information about one of our sports camp programs.
 

STEM Comes Alive with Camp Invention

If you hear "STEM camp" and imagine a bunch of kids sitting around a computer for 8 hours a day, then think again. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics get an invigorating boost with the unique programs at Camp Invention.

Why is Camp Invention Unique?

Camp Invention has been around since 1990, and they believe every child (and teen) has the natural curiosity to become an inventor.

STEM camps have taken off in recent years due to their ability to teach real-life skills to young people. Principles of engineering and math, constructing robotics, and writing code are all helpful abilities that your kid can take with them through school and future careers.

But a couple crucial questions often go unanswered in STEM camps. The first question is: Will my child want to learn these new skills?

Camp Invention, most of all, makes STEM fun. This camp fosters creativity and innovation. Young people enrolled in camp become active participants.

They learn and use engineering principles to build planes, gliders, and rockets, and get to see them fly in real life. They learn problem-solving skills to brainstorm ideas to help the planet's environment.

And Camp Invention is collaborative too. Students aren't isolated during this experience. They get to laugh and be social while participating in all the various activities, which greatly enhances their desire to learn.

Perhaps most importantly, Camp Invention lives up to its name by fostering creativity. Children and teens are imbued with the power to become the inventors, budding geniuses, and business leaders of tomorrow.

Camp Invention's programs help kids come up with new ideas based in STEM, create blueprints and sketches, build prototypes, and even think about how to market their creations!

In today's America, a strong educational background is practically required to be successful. An evaluation of Camp Invention showed that enrollees in the camp resulted in increased average school GPA and test scores, proving that students take these skills with them.

Camp Invention is a one-of-a-kind STEM camp. Click here to find a camp near you.

 

Get a Start with Your Kid's Dream Gaming Career with iDTech Camps

Video games are all grown up. They've come a long way since being considered a boy's loner hobby. Now gaming means a bunch of different ways to engage with interactive entertainment.

From quick diversions on your phone to immersive fantasy worlds on your HDTV to competitive esports, video games have become as essential a medium as film.

It's no surprise then, that much like the "movie brats" of the 1970s, new generations are rising up to redefine and rediscover what it means to create video games. And just like the coveted career of film director, video game developer is now a dream job.

A career in video games doesn't have to be an unobtainable fantasy career either. Video games are a massive industry that took in $43 billion in revenue last year - an 18% jump from the previous year. And there are many jobs available, ranging from programmers to level designers to directors to artists.

Being involved in the creation of video games is a realistic and exciting career, and it's no surprise that kids and teens want to become involved in this growing industry.

Thanks to iDTech, they can.

iDTech's camps are fun, but most importantly, they give your child a massive head start into the career of gaming.

Courses at iDTech include coding, game design, Java, 3D modeling, mobile games, Roblox, C++, Fortnite, Unreal Engine, level design, cinematics, gameplay mechanics, and even virtual reality!

These tools are essential for kids who want to embark on a career in gaming, whether your child wants to be the next star indie game designer or to work at a major AAA game development studio with 400-person teams.

Every parent's wish for their child is to know that they can eventually support themselves financially and that the child is happy. By fostering a career in gaming, iDTech makes that happen.

Click here to learn more about iDTech and enroll your kid in the entertainment career of the future.

Active Kids are Healthy Kids at US Sports Camps

When your child has fun at camp, that's great. When they stay active and learn hobbies that will keep them active and healthy long into adulthood, that's also great.

At US Sports Camps, they do both.

Obesity and being overweight are problems in America. The American Medical Association reports that death rates from heart disease, diabetes, and related disorders are now rising after years of falling. And obesity is to blame.

Even if your child is healthy now, they may still experience problems later if they fall into a sedentary lifestyle, due to work or other circumstances. Nutrition is important too, of course, but physical activity is a critical component.

More and more, researchers are proving that the skills and habits you develop in childhood and teen years are the ones that you keep in adulthood. Staying active as a kid and teen is important, not only to combat the childhood obesity crisis, but to stay healthy as a young adult and even into your older years.

Active kids and teens are more likely to become active adults.

Fortunately, when you enroll your child in US Sports Camps, the activities make it easy to stay fun and engaged.

Rather than forcing themselves (or being forced) to use a boring treadmill every couple days, the enrollees at US Sports Camps are having fun. They're enjoying physical activity, and the results show it. This enjoyment is essential for kids and teens to take the love of physical activity into the future.

US Sports Camps offers a wide variety of activity as well, so there's no risk of your child losing interest. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, water polo, crew, and more are all on offer at this camp.

Being active in the childhood and teen years pays extreme dividends later, so set your child up for a healthy and happy life with US Sports Camps.

3 Life-Saving Tips to Keep Your Kid Cool at Summer Camp

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Sleeping bag? Check. Clothes? Check. Sports equipment? Check. Packing for summer camp can be stressful. You might always have that feeling that you're forgetting something, but this summer, there is one necessity you can't forget - making sure your kid stays cool.

With record-breaking temperatures in 2019, keeping your kid cool is about more than their comfort. It's about their safety and wellness. Overheating is a serious health concern, and when you send your child to sleepaway camp, you can't always be there to monitor their behavior.

Here are 3 tips to keep your kid cool at sleepaway camp.

1. Pack a Great Water Bottle.

The most important aspect to staying cool is hydration. When the temperatures go up, the risk of dehydration does too. And dehydration can be deadly, especially for young children.

Pick out a nice stainless steel water bottle that will keep the water cool. And make sure the water bottle is something your child wants to carry around. If there is a "lame" design or decoration (according to your kids), they'll be less likely to take the water bottle to all their activities with their friends.

2. Make Sure Your Kid Knows to Stay Hydrated.

Depending on the age of your child, they probably need 7-10 cups of water a day. And this number only goes up with increased activity and perspiration.

Talk to your child before camp and make sure they know how much water to drink throughout the day. Quiz them the next day. It's okay to nag them a bit. It's for their own good.

3.  Know the Fan Situation.

When your kid finishes the day activities, where do they go? When they go to sleep, what is the cabin like? Or is there a dorm with an A/C?

Fans are great for keeping cool, but you don't always know if there will be a power outlet. Make sure to ask the camp ahead of time to figure out the situation.

Once you know, you can figure out which fans to pack. A plug-in fan that clips onto their bunk bed? A handheld portable fan?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees. Keeping your kid cool as they rest from a busy day in summer camp is just as important as staying cool during the day.

4 Surefire Signs Your Kid is Ready for Overnight Camp

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For a young child, being away from their parents for a night or two can be difficult. Turn this time period into weeks, and some children can't handle the separation.

Camp is supposed to be a fun experience, so how do you know if your child is ready or if it's simply too soon?

So, how can you tell if it's time to let your child explore the world or if it's simply too soon? Here are 4 surefire ways to make sure that your kid is ready:

1. Your Kid Enjoyed a Camp Visit.

Asking a child out of the blue if they are ready for overnight camp is not practical. Odds are they will toss out an impulse answer, similar to the "yes" given for candy or the prompt "no" muttered for that healthy serving of vegetables.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Take your child to the camp prior to enrollment. Introduce them to the area, and the people they will be interacting with. Let them see firsthand what the camp is about.

Point out things they might be interested in and explain why those experiences are fun. And if the journey piques their interest, you'll get a much clearer answer on if they are ready.

2. Your Child Responds Positively to Sleepovers.

Setting up an overnight playdate before camp starts is a great way to see if your kid is ready. All of the major principles are there: being away from home, in a new environment, doing fun new activities, and being somewhat independent.

After a sleepover, ask your child about their experiences. Did they have fun? Would they be interested in repeating the process? Are they excited to talk about it?

If the answer is yes, introduce the topic of camp. Then compare the experience to the sleepover and use the opportunity to start making plans for summer camp.

3. Your Child has a Specific Interest that Matches the Camp.

All children are different. Some children flourish in an outdoor environment. Others prefer to stay indoors and explore science-y things. Fortunately, nowadays there's a camp for everything.

There are overnight camps that focus on everything from robotics to sports, from programming video games to camping outside.

When your child is truly passionate about the focus of a camp, then they're much more likely to want to stay overnight for the experience.

4. Your Child Actually Asked about Overnight Camp.

Not all signs are complicated. Sometimes, the best signs come clearly from your child.

If your child is asking about camp, then it's a good sign that they're showing the early enthusiasm necessary to make the trip away from home. Let them know what overnight camp entails, and if they're still interested, then you have a good chance they'll enjoy camp.

And because friends are such an important part of a child's development, there's a good chance that they're asking because their friend is going to camp also. If that's the case, then having a companion join your child improves the chance that they won't get homesick.

Of course, life is not always that simple. But these four signs will help you determine whether or not your child is ready to stay away from home for overnight camp. And once they do, they can begin forming memories for the rest of their life.

Don't Forget Winter Camp for Your Kids

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Kids love summer. They wait all year for their long, two-month break from classes and homework. But summer isn't their only chance for an exciting and fun camping experience. Winter - also known as summer's little sister - gives kids the same opportunity to get away from an ordinary routine and have new adventures.

It's easy to overlook winter. Kids and teens don't get a months-long break, ost winter camps don't offer the same sleepaway experience as their summer counterparts. But instead of keeping your kids inside and teaching them the fine art of shoveling snow, you have the chance to give them a memorable winter.

Unfortunately for parents, work doesn't stop over the winter. As a result, unattended kids can get lonely or bored over winter break. Winter break can last up to three weeks, and this is a lot of time for you to be responsible for all your kid's daily activities. Winters camps let them socialize and stay active during this time, and it's safer for your kids to be supervised by counselors and other adults.

Winter camps don't have to be a downgraded experience either. For example, Camp Live Oak in Broward County, Florida, offers the full slate of things to do: sports, arts & crafts, archery, and fishing.

For those in chillier climates, winter camps have tons of engaging indoor activities.  Second City in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto offers improve and comedy camps during the winter. Tech and science camps are still available over the winter, and the same is true for many other themed camps.

From museum camps to arts to sports, there's a winter camp for your kid. But time is running out. Winter is on its way.

 

3 Ways to Prepare Your Child or Teen for Weight Loss Camp

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It's no longer a secret that obesity is a full-blown health epidemic in America. If your child or teen is unhealthily overweight, they're not alone.

Fortunately, there are weight loss summer camps that provide both the enjoyment and teach the skills necessary to live a healthy lifestyle. While some people are simply fortunate to have fast metabolism or physical advantages, the ability to live a healthy life is a teachable skill.

Losing weight is difficult, and there can be discouraging setbacks. So if you're considering weight loss summer camp for your child or teen and want them to have the best opportunity for success, consider these three tips.

1. Make Sure Your Child or Teen Is Committed.

Have an open, honest discussion with your child or teenager. Discuss the potential health complications about being overweight or obese. Do not make the discussion about how they look.

Focusing on appearances leads people to feel shame, which can make them feel hopeless. They probably already feel poorly because their peers at this age can

Instead, make sure that they are on board with improving their health at a weight loss summer camp. If they go in with a positive mindset, your child or teen exponentially increases their chance at success. Psychology is half the battle.

2. Start with Healthy-Eating Habits.

Weight loss camp won't help your child or teen if they can only maintain healthy eating habits while at camp. Losing weight is a commitment, and the weight can come back as easily as it can shed.

With that said, start with healthy eating habits. Fewer greasy fried foods. Lean meats if you are a meat-eating household. More vegetables and fruits, especially when snacking. Fewer foods drenched in sauces.

This is all stuff you've heard before, but if you don't start these habits before camp and keep them up after camp, then any progress made in camp will not stay.

3. Convince Your Child or Teen of the Fun Activities.                         

The idea of a weight loss camp can seem like a drag. It sounds like hard work.

The good news is that these camps are actually fun. Getting outside, doing physical activity, naturally produces chemicals in the brain that make people feel better.

So help your child or teen understand that they will be playing games like basketball or volleyball. They'll get out of the heat with swimming. And they'll learn skills that they can take with them after camp is done.

 

Rise of the Robots: Why Robotics is the Next Big Thing In Summer Camps

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Imagine a world overrun with robots, performing the smallest tasks, taking the jobs of human beings, and even vacuuming your floor. There's no need to stretch your brain because we're already living that world, which is why robotics is taking over summer camps around the country.

It's no secret that robotics is the future, and that the usefulness of a STEM education is only poised to grow from here. The good news is that robotics is actually fun for all ages.

Kids love robots. The sales of Lego building blocks and the Transformers franchise prove that. Teens and young adults love technology. They take apart everything, and if we're lucky, they put it back together when they're done.

Whether you're planning a career or hoping to instill a love of the STEM and robotics fields in your children, summer camps with robotics are a great opportunity for kids and young adults to learn while also enjoying a wide array of fun activities.

What do you do at Robot Camp?

At robotics camps, the campers will design, build, program, and test robots. They'll learn about Artificial Intelligence, and will explore the basics of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.

Some camps even bring out the competitive spirit of campers with robot competitions. Campers love these events, often racing against the clock to build the best robots. They then test how these rushed robots behave, sometimes with hilarious results.

The activities at these summer camps can vary. We haven't yet reached a workless utopia where robots handle every important task, so in this transition phase, we still need to prepare our children for a country where robots are seriously displacing human beings for paying jobs.

Fortunately, robotics summer camps are fun and educational. So consider the future for your future camp.