Well, don't despair. It happened to me the first year I put my son in camp at 3 years old. It was especially important to me back then because I wanted camp to be preparation for pre-school, which he was going to start in the fall. Only, I waited until early May to look, and was shocked to find everything was full. At least everything people recommended or was cheap, was full.
However, I got lucky and found one spot in a camp I ended up liking. So, I'm just here to say, don't despair if you've waited til the last minute. There are some camps out there. You just need to find them. So, I thought I'd offer a few last minute camp tips.
- Check out Deal sites. Living Social, Groupon, Plum District and Certifikid have deals for camps sometimes. So, check them out. First, go to the site to see active deals. Then, Google the site + "camp" and see about past deals. Why check out deals that are over? Well, if a camp was struggling in the past, maybe it's the kind of camp that might still have some openings this summer (but not so many they want to offer a half off deal). We contemplated this cool Tennis Camp deal Living Social is offering, but since I'm not working, I'm not interested in sending the kids to camp from 8:30 am to 4 in the afternoon. It's too long of a day, in my opinion. But, it sounds like a great camp.
- Check Out Area Parks and Recs Departments. Lots of localities in the area have summer camp through parks and rec departments. PG County offers lots of camps, of course. But, so do the cities of Greenbelt, Hyattsville and Laurel. Don't forget we're near a lot of jurisdictions. If you live near Montgomery County or Anne Arundel County, check out their camp offerings. (Don't forget that PG & Montgomery County have reciprocity for certain MNCPPC events/camps, meaning you get the in-county rates if you live in either county for those events/camps.)
- Private Schools and Churches are another great place to check for camps. While schools tend to give their students' families first shot at camps, they're more than happy to accept outsiders the closer you get to the start of the school year. So, any local private schools you know of, check them out. The camp my son first went to was Paint Branch Montessori (half day) because they had space available for non students (and they were in Adelphi back then; they've since moved to Silver Spring).
- Go thematic. There are a lot of theme-based camps out there, so check them out. Think soccer, basketball and even foreign languages. Lango of Prince George's County can immerse your kids in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese! The town of Cheverly offers a basketball camp; Bowie Sportfit and College Park Tennis Center offer tennis camps; and the Washington Wizards offer weeklong basketball camps at various locations in the metro area, including weeks in Bowie, Largo and Annapolis.
And that is it for today. Good luck if you're in the hunt for a camp. Tomorrow, I'll post my review of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.