Sending your kid to summer camp? Texas summer camps offer a variety of features and activities.

Among the top-ranked summer camps in Texas, there is a culture of building traditions and summer families among the kids who go to camp every year.

School is out and the kids are gone at camp. It is time for many parents to enjoy the early part of summer before it gets too hot. Most summer camps are three-week programs but if that doesn't fit your schedule, there are also one and two-week camps available. The first year your son or daughter goes off to summer camp the separation anxiety can be stressful on both children and parents. Among the top-ranked summer camps in Texas, there is a culture of building traditions and summer families among the kids who go to camp every year. Many of our friends and neighbors have kids away at camp which may be something worth visiting about as you consider options for sending your own children to summer camp this or next summer.

What should you look for in narrowing your summer camp search?

Before searching for the ideal summer camp for your children, there a few questions you might consider. Do you want a coed camp with boys and girls or just a girls or boys camp? As some camps are faith-based and others are not religious, does that influence your choices? What is the age range of the children at camp? What types of activities are offered?

Summer camps, especially in Texas, are competitive when it comes to the activities offered. Camps may offer horseback riding, rock climbing, wall climbing, camping, canoeing, water skiing, sailing, sports, crafts and more. Some camps offer speed boats and wave runners to keep your children quite busy and well socialized and entertained.

Of course, you will want to keep in touch with your children while at camp, and every now and then they slow down enough to make a phone call or write and send you a "Having a great time at camp" letter or post card. You may also contact potential summer camps to ask your questions about communications, cell phones, devices and what rules and guidelines may apply.

Here are a few links to and examples of top-rated Texas summer camps, most are located in the Hill Country and East Texas :

· Camp Balcones Springs is a coed Christian camp for ages 7-17 offering one to three-week camps and is located in Marble Falls in the Texas Hill Country.

· Camp Champions is a coed camp for grades K-12 offering a three-week camp with an emphasis on day to day fun and becoming champions, also located in Marble Falls, Texas.

· Camp Cho-Yeh is a coed Christian camp for ages 6-16 offering one and two-week programs focused on faith and daily Bible study when they aren't otherwise engaged in waterfront sports and activities at this camp located in East Texas in the town of Livingston.

· Camp Fern is girls, boys and coed Christian camp for ages 6-17 offering one to four week camp programs, some coed and others for girls or boys only. An emphasis on horsemanship and English riding are an emphasis at this camp located in East Texas in the town of Marshall.

· Camp Mystic is a girls Christian camp for ages 8-17 offering a variety of camp schedules during the summer. Activities for campers include cooking, cheerleading, journalism and beauty. Lacrosse, riflery and horseback riding are also available at this camp located in Hunt, Texas in the Hill Country.

The more you explore the features and focuses of different camps you may have a better appreciation for the real value of these camps, many of which are instrumental in positively shaping children in groups of their peers.

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Source: Houstonia; Best Summer Camps: Overnight Camps, by Peter Holley and John Lomax, Mar. 3, 2014.

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