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Camp Resource Center

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What is the Summer Camp Resource Center?

Bank Street Summer Camp recognizes how difficult it can be for parents to find a Summer Camp that fits their child. Parents are always asking us how to begin the process of finding a Summer Camp program, so we have put together the Summer Camp Resource Center, complete with questions parents can ask camps and resources parents can reach out to.

Questions to Consider When Looking for a Camp

When speaking to a camp professional, it’s important to think about what works and doesn’t work well for your particular child. It’s also a good idea to know a little bit about the requirements of camps and the purpose behind their programs. Here are some basic questions for you to consider when looking for a Summer Camp for your child. Click on one of the questions below to see more information.

  • What should you ask about program?

    What kind of camp are you looking for? Day Camp? Summer Camp? Academic Camp?

     “Summer Camp” tends to imply that the program is not academic but this doesn’t mean that the program isn’t educational. Much of all of our education comes from time spent outside of the classroom. Some educational summer camp programs could include swim, theater or language immersion.

    Are you looking for a program in the city or outside the city?

    Some Day Camps are outside of the city and that means that campers will be on the bus twice a day to and from camp. This might work well for your camper as they might want to sleep on the way home but busing to and from camp doesn’t work for everyone and it’s good to know what would work for your child.

    What age group are you looking for?

    Based on their experience during the year, what can your child handle?

    Do they have a rest time during the year?

    Most programs are organized by age but every child is different and if they’re not currently in a full day program, they may not be able to handle a full day program at camp. Keep in mind, generally speaking camp is more active than school. If your child has a rest time during the school year, be sure to take that into account when picking a program.

    What is the structure or schedule for each day?

    Are there periods?

    Is there a formal curriculum?

    Most camps think of their programs as educational in some way but few camps have programs that have documented curriculum accompanying their schedule. It’s important to know what your child will be doing during the day and what the purpose of that activity is.

    What are the hours of the camp? Do they have extended hours?

    Each camp offers different hours for their programs. Some camps have enrichment options and extended day making it easy for parents who work late to pick up their children.

    Does the Camp offer consistency throughout the year?

    Do they have Winter, Spring, Weekend or After School programs?

    Do they offer local swim classes?

    For the campers who just can’t wait for next summer, many camps have programs throughout the year like Winter Camps, Spring Camps, Weekend Programs or After School programs. Some camps even offer local swim classes during the year. Taking part in these programs is a good way for campers to become an essential part of the camp community.

  • What should you ask about swim?

    Does the camp have a swim program?

    Is it instructional?

    Are campers supervised in the water?

    Are the aquatic personnel qualified?

     If so, is it a Red Cross certified program?

    What is the size of the pool?

    Finding a suitable swim program for your child can be a real challenge, especially since access to a pool can be tricky in NYC. For many campers, summer camp is the only opportunity they have to learn how to swim. Many programs do not group campers by skill or comfort level, both of which are incredibly important, especially if your camper doesn’t have very much experience in the water. A Red Cross certified program ensures the skill of the aquatics staff and the safety measures they use in the water.

    What are the qualifications of the Aquatics Director?

    Most Health Departments, as well as the ACA, require the Aquatics Director to be certified in CPR for the Professional Rescuer and Lifeguard Management, as well as have significant experience and qualifications for the position.

    What are the qualifications of the Aquatics Staff?

    The requirements for a lifeguard, as stated by the American Red Cross, include a 2 year lifeguard certification and an annual CPR Pro certification. It’s important to inquire about the type of training the camp does in the water before choosing a program.  

  • What should you ask about health?

    Does the camp have an on-site nurse?

    Health Departments do not require a nurse to be on site, they do require that there is a Health Director who has at least one of the following qualifications: Physician, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Emergency Medical Technician and/or CPR Pro and Advance First Aid. The health Director does not have to be on site.

    How far is the nearest hospital?

    It’s good to know how close the local hospital is to your child’s program.

    Does the camp require immunizations and medical forms?

    Local Health Departments require camps to gather and house medical forms and immunizations for every camper attending camp, as well as action plans for campers who have food allergies, asthma, diabetes and/or seizures.

    Do I need a camp that can accommodate dietary restrictions, allergies or physical challenges?

    Some campers need programs that can accommodate their dietary restrictions, physical challenges or allergies, which might be environmental, dietary or medicinal.

  • What should I ask about certifications and accreditations?

    Are they certified by the local Health Department?

    In order for a camp to be granted a permit by the local Department of Heath they must submit an application, including extensive procedures and practices.

    Are they accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA)?

    In order for a camp to be accredited by the ACA, each camp must first submit an extensive application including the curriculum, scope of each program and manner in which the camp meets the detailed standards of the ACA. More information about the ACA can be found below under "Potentially Helpful Resources."

    What should I ask about staff?

    Who works with the campers?

    Are they specialists?

    Do the counselors teach the campers?

    What are the credentials/qualifications for counselors and administrators?

    Each camp is organized differently. Some have counselors who are with the kids but don’t actually do the instruction or teaching. Some camps have specialists that work with campers, while others have educators that work with the group during the day.

  • What should I ask about transportation?

    Does the camp have transportation to and from camp?

    Some camps provide door to door pickup and drop off, while others provide local bus stops where families can drop off and pick up their campers. Many camps are unable to provide a ride home if their child stays past the regular hours of the program, in which case it would be up to you to pick your child up.

    Does the Camp take trips? How do they travel?

    Some camps take trips outside of the campus or camp grounds via bus, subway or walking. While some campers have no problem on the bus, others do and it’s important to know how often your child will be on the bus. It’s especially important to know if the buses have air conditioning and seat belts.

    If the group is traveling by subway, it’s important to know if the camp has a procedure for entering and exiting the cars. It’s also important to know what the procedure is when a group is walking outside the program campus.  

  • What should I ask about food?

    Does the camp provide food, lunch or snack?

    What kind of food is it?

    Does it provide enough energy for the day?

    Is it food your child will want to eat?

    A good camp meal balances healthy food, appetizing food and food that provides enough energy for the day. If the lunch is too heavy it could drain a child’s energy.

Potentially Helpful Resources

The following potentially helpful resources are not endorsed by Bank Street, they are simply provided. If you would like to further discuss finding a program for your child, feel free to email us at

  • American Camp Association

    American Camp AssociationAmerican Camp Association

    The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals who, for over 100 years, have joined together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. Just as our membership is diverse and our programs distinct, so are the children who come to us to participate in the camp experience. Through what we teach, the opportunities we offer, and the example we set, children become part of a sharing community.

    As an organization we value the world, the people who live in it, and the contribution each individual can make. These are not separate values, but concentric circles. The values that are important to us as an organization are the same as those we strive to instill in the children we guide.

  • Best Class

    Best ClassBest Class

    BestClass NYC is a social discovery platform for children's after school classes, camps and events. It lets anyone create, discover and share new learning experiences for children, that fuel their passions and enrich their lives.

    Art, Music, Dance, Sports, Fitness, Language, Culture, STEM - you name it, we power it! A generic search like 'design'​, 'filmmaking'​, 'gymnastics'​, 'ballet'​, 'drums'​, 'soccer'​ or 'piano'​ brings up hundreds of classes. Or try something specific like "technology for tweens in Manhattan"​ to streamline your search.

    We know parents are hard pressed for time, so we connect with numerous program providers and equip you with all the information you need to make the best decisions for your children. Follow a program if you missed it this time, and we'll notify you when it becomes available again. Connect with your friends and share notes on your program experience in a discreet digital environment that’s not open to entire internet. Discover and share amazing learning adventures for kids and teens

    We are parents ourselves and we understand that our tech savvy teens and tweens need a safe space to explore extra curricular options that help them round out their personalities. BestClass helps program providers make their offerings easily searchable, keep parents and participants up to date with timely notifications, and keep their staff all on the same page – all with custom branding capabilities. In short, BestClass helps after school programs be awesome online!

    Here’s a video of what we’ve been up to

    And why parents love BestClass



  • Let’s Talk Schools

    Let’s Talk SchoolsLet's Talk Schools

    While New York City parents have the option to choose the type of education that best meets their needs, be it public schools, charter schools, independent private schools, religious based private schools or homeschooling, many parents are unable to make an informed choice because they don’t have comparable information about each option. Let’s Talks Schools mission is to fill the information void by providing resources and information to help families successfully navigate the varied world of education in NYC.

  • New York Family Camp Fairs

    New York Family Camp FairsNew York Family Camp Fairs

    Discover dozens of day camps and sleepaway camps at the New York Family CAMP FAIRS! Camp fairs are informative, free, and fun for the whole family. These are the largest camp fairs in NYC, offering families the unique opportunity to speak with a big host of camp directors and get essential questions answered: What kinds of camps are right for my child? Should my child go to day camp in the city or out of the city? Is my child ready for sleepaway camp? Should we look at general camps or specialty camps? The camp fairs are sponsored with the American Camp Association NY/NJ. For information and registration: