Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.
It will be here before you know it - summer vacation! There are nearly one hundred days and counting, depending upon your school district. My son, Ian, more than likely has the exact number of days left in the school year written down somewhere. At the very least, I know he's making mental tally marks as the time goes by. Our family is already one of thousands deeply engrossed in the summer camp crunch (it started last month when Columbus Parent published its summer camp guide and continues this month with its mini-guide for more camps). So, where to send Ian to enjoy the long hot days of summer? To date we've had pretty good success with a combination of YMCA camp, sports camps and time away with the paternal and maternal grandparents. This year we're challenged a little more as our "baby" is now 10 years old. We are venturing into the pre-adolescent or tween years and - gulp - it looks a bit daunting. The key is to find activities and camps that will hold his interest because, as every parent knows, it only takes a minute for a child to decide "there's nothing to do." Last year at this time, I wrote about the rush for a spot in Central Ohio summer camps, particularly the day camp operations. Competition can be stiff because for working parents, "camp" is more than a place to hang out and interact with other children, it is critical child care. My best advice when it comes to finding a camp is research. The operators of any camp should be more than willing to take your questions about activities, safety, experience and background of their staffers. Don't forget to check the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for inspection reports. You can do this by simply going to their website to search for inspection reports. Here is a link, http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/childcare.stm We had success last summer by mixing things up a bit. Ian attended a sports-themed day camp for several weeks then got a break, hung out with extended family out of town, and squeezed in a basketball camp on a college campus. This year, we'll try to keep it exciting, economical and interesting. Of course, like last year, I warned you of how some of the camps fill up fast.We're still working out our plans and I wish you and your family the best as you tackle the summer camp scramble, too. -Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.