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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The city has a program where a city employee will watch your kid (and other kids) at a local park from 10--3 (and feed them lunch.)<br><br>
One of us thinks this is a great idea (socialization and exercise) and the other parent thinks it's a bad idea (generalized safety concerns, nothing specific.)<br><br>
So is this something you would do in your town? (Average town, average crime rate, etc.)
 

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Gosh, it just depends on so much--age of child, personality/temperament of child (is this something child would enjoy? is child OK with minimal supervision)?<br><br>
I wouldn't reject it out of hand, but a lot would depend on the specifics of our situation. As it is now, I don't think the program would be appropriate for *my* kids (4.5-y.o. twin boys w/ special needs), but I'm sure it would be fine for most.
 

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I'd mostly want to know the age(s) and qualifications of the staff, and be sure they are supplied with cell phones. As long as there's more than one, one is older than about 18, one or both have leadership and first aid training, and they can contact me if there's a problem I'd be ok with it.
 

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Is it a day camp run by the park board? If yes, I wouldn't have a concern. If not, five hours seems like a terribly long time to be at the park with no structured activities. Can you define city employees? From your post, I imagine a DMV employee taking a day off to babysit. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> Surely they have some training? And I agree, age matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My son is almost 8. He's a pretty social kid. I'd have to investigate the specifics (age of staff, etc.) I just wondered your general gut feeling on it -- good idea or bad.
 

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My kids did day camp at a local park (granted, it's rather large, with tons of hiking trails and a farm) from the time they were 3 until this year (8, almost-7, and almost-7).<br><br>
So, if the city is following state law and basic safetly/liability guidelines (background check, must have at least 2 adults over 18 in the proper ratios), kids have free access to a bathroom and water, ect...sure why not?<br><br>
Just because it's at a park doesn't mean they'll just sit around staring at each other all day. At the day camp my kids went to, they played games, went on hikes, did science-y stuff, ran through the sprinklers, ect.<br><br>
Have you asked about what the activities will be? It's a reasonable thing to ask, I'm a little surprised that the activities are not stated in the ad/website/wherever the interested party found out about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerchild</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15463481"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Have you asked about what the activities will be? It's a reasonable thing to ask, I'm a little surprised that the activities are not stated in the ad/website/wherever the interested party found out about it.</div>
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Yeah, it doesn't help that there are no specifics on the website. It just says "for elementary aged children."
 

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In our town there are two levels of the park "camps".<br><br>
One is kids playing together at the park all day. No structured activities, no hikes, nothing like that. It is free with no registration. The kids don't check in or check out. There is usually one teen aged kid who supervises. I personally wouldn't be comfortable with my children attending if I wasn't comfortable just sending them to the park by themselves (which I'm not at ages 4 and 6).<br><br>
The other is actual day camp where they have structured activites, themed weeks, hikes, stuff like that. Kids have to register and have to be checked in and out by an authorized person who has ID. It is still pretty reasonably priced and has 4 or so helpers, depending on the number of kids registered. When my little ones get older I will most likely send them to this for a week or so every summer, if they want to go.
 

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I would definitely consider it (if we could afford it). It would give my kids something to do during the summer - they would love to spend hours and hours each day at the park, but *I* don't want to. I'm guessing it would be okay to pick them up early or drop them off late or miss a day here and there. That would be important to me so we could go to the zoo, pool, etc. Of course, if my kids didn't enjoy it - I wouldn't keep sending them.<br><br>
I dunno, but right about now, something like that sounds really good! (3 out of 4 of my kids are still awake and have been energetic all day.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Drummer's Wife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15463797"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I dunno, but right about now, something like that sounds really good! (3 out of 4 of my kids are still awake and have been energetic all day.)</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I used a city run program one summer, except that I didn't leave my children. I stayed there with them and played games and had a lot of fun. I think the program I used was set up to make sure that children are not going hungry over the summer. They had pretty decent lunches like pita with hummus and cucumber and salads and things like that. The lunches were delivered at lunch time so they weren't all sitting out at the park all day. We colored with sidewalk chalk and played board games and blew bubbles and also played on the park equipment.<br>
Also, my son is on the Autism Spectrum even though I didn't have him diagnosed at the time, but his challenges were the main reason I didn't leave them to play. The staff was wonderful. They were CPR trained and really great and all had childcare experience and training. I don't know if that was a requirement though. They did face painting and had little gifts for the kids too. Since the park was just 2 blocks from my house we spent most of our summer there.<br>
Why not see if you can stay with the kids at first and if you like it you can leave them after you've checked it out?
 

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In our city it's the recreation program and the hours are 10-2 and 5-8. The people in charge of the kids were mostly college kids on break and they were great. But it was come and go freely so when they were really little it wasn't so good. When they were 8 and up, it was great. Our house is only a few blocks away from the park.<br>
They did little trips to the pool and the ice cream store, etc...and they played games together all day.<br>
They really loved it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>A&A</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15463472"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My son is almost 8. He's a pretty social kid. I'd have to investigate the specifics (age of staff, etc.) I just wondered your general gut feeling on it -- good idea or bad.</div>
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Well just to add in then - I worked in one as a teen (GREAT hours) and I ran a park/community centre based art camp in my mid-twenties one summer and supervised the staff - it was more formal but probably the same idea in terms of who was hired, etc.<br><br>
I think it depends on the staff and the training they get - in my case in both cases there were good orientations and procedures. I'd say the most vulnerable points were:<br><br>
- drop off and pick up, esp. in a park-based programme - it needs to be really REALLY clear who can pick up your kid, how they're checked in/out etc.<br>
- kids that need a little extra TLC (won't remember to drink water, ask to go to the bathroom etc.); staff can be young and get overwhelmed and not double check sunscreen, etc.<br><br>
However I think both programmes were generally really good for low-key fun stuff to do.<br><br>
At almost-8 with a kid who's pretty good about taking direction, not wandering off, etc. I would be good with it if my requirements in my first post were met. The first few days I'd drop in unexpectedly though, 'cause I'm like that.
 

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I would want some specifics - child/staff ratios, qualifications of the staff, drop off/pick up procedures, how do they contact you if there is a problem....<br><br>
I wouldn't reject the idea out of hand, until I had a little more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would want some specifics - child/staff ratios, qualifications of the staff, drop off/pick up procedures, how do they contact you if there is a problem....<br><br>
I wouldn't reject the idea out of hand, until I had a little more information.</div>
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We'll look into it further and ask these questions. Thanks for helping me formulate the questions to ask!!
 

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Forgot to add - the lunch issue. If I had an allergic or sensitive child, i'd be pretty careful. For some reason, I find people are fairly careful and respect allergy policies when they send their children to daycare, schools etc., but sometimes less so at recreation programs and parks.
 

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I went to something like that as a kid. It was great. There was a loose structure to the day (nothing mandatory, so if a kid wanted to just play all day that was fine). We'd do crafts, play games, free play, and just have fun. It was alot of fun. I would walk there in the morning and normally go home for lunch. Then I'd go back in the afternoon.
 

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I sent my kids to the parks and rec summer playground camp several years starting at 5. It was incredibly affordable and they had lots of fun. I sent bottle of cold water in case the fountain was icky and lots and lots and lots of sunscreen.
 

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I love the city day camp in our park. They hire really great people for a lot of money and their interactions with the children are wonderful. We see them all the time at the park we play at and they are very impressive every year. It is also very affordable. I am planning on sending my dd this year.
 
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