Summer camps growing full, parents urged to sign up

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Summer camps in Horry County are kicking into gear. For many of them, Monday is their first day of operation.

Organizers say the numbers are increasing each year, so camps adapt to try to fit more kids, but once they're full the procrastinating parent may be out of options.

Most summer camps say they enroll on a week-by-week basis. So for families going out of town on vacation one week, they won't have to pay that week, plus it makes space for kids who are on the wait list.

Each summer camp has its own system. The Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach says people sign up kids in advance. Right now some weeks and age-groups are full, and others aren't. The location in Murrells Inlet is still accepting kids, too, so parents are urged to call either location to check about availability.

So for parents looking for something all summer, they need to call soon to get kids signed up or get them on the wait list. The childcare director for the YMCA says she made space for an additional 15 kids this summer because more parents have been signing their kids up this year than ever before.

Registration for 'Just Have Fun Camp' in Conway is done on a weekly basis. Parents pay on Friday to reserve their child a spot the next week.

But make sure to research summer camps, and find one that has activities children will enjoy.

"To me, the games and the activities they do, that is the camp," says Diane Haffey, YMCA Childcare Director. "It's the games and those types of those things the kids really look for and enjoy doing. And it's great because kids nowadays, it's a lot harder to get them outside and to get them involved with other children, making friends. And that's what this, for me anyway, personally, I like to see more than anything."

Employees say to look for a summer camp that is going to give kids new experiences; somewhere they aren't just sitting around being watched, and have activities and get to experience new things they wouldn't if they were at home.

A tip, parents nervous about letting little ones go - send an email to the camp director with questions.

"Some parents that have called or emailed me with a little list of questions like, a lot of it is ratios 'How many kids to counselors do you have'?" says Haffey. "They want to know if we do background checks and reference checks on our staff, which of course we do. So it's just really up to the parent- they have their own little checklist."

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