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iD Tech Camps: Pete Ingram-Cauchi, President

October 5, 2009

From time to time, I am interviewing Camp Directors to get their opinions on how to plan your summer so that your child has a good experience, and to learn about what makes their camp special.

Pete Ingram-Cauchi is the President and CEO of one of the largest camp operations in the country, iD Tech Camps. iD Tech Camps offers day and overnight summer tech camps for kids and teens. The programs are very creative and fun. Although iD Tech Camps is a relatively large operation, it’s clear that Pete is immersed in the operations and is passionate about providing a great camp experience and excellent customer service. In fact, Pete reviews every customer email that is sent from his organization.  Here’s what Pete had to say about planning your child’s summer and about iD Tech Camps.

There are so many camps! Do you have any advice for parents on how to find a good match for their kids?

When you are signing your child up for camp, you’re exposing them to something new, and you really want to feel good when you are driving away. Think about finding a pre-school for your child. You likely talked to many schools, and thought “no, no, no, YES”.  Finding the right camp is a similar experience. Although you probably won’t be able to visit many camps, you can learn a lot by talking to the camp. Does the camp answer the phone? If not, do they get back to you quickly? Are they on top of the details? Ask good questions to get a feel for the camp. And get recommendations from friends.

What questions should a parent ask a camp?

The camp director is the center of gravity for the camp, so get a good understanding of the director.

-Is the camp their full time occupation or is this something that they do on the side?

-How long has the camp been in business? How long has the camp director been present?

-Especially for an academic/computer camp – who is doing the teaching? Is it high school students or instructors with experience? What is the actual ratio of instructors to campers?

-What are the camp’s risk management practices? Do they have policies and procedures in place?

-Is the camp ACA accredited? It’s a very stringent process with over 300 criteria. This is particularly important for resident camps.

Are there bad camps out there? If so, how can parents protect themselves?

Sure. Anyone can start a camp, so bad camps are out there. Most will go out of business quickly, because word of mouth is so important. The key is the camp director. Call the camp. Ask good questions. Especially if the camp or camp director is new.

Summer is long. A child can have 10 weeks of camp. Any tips to prevent camp burnout or make sure that kids enjoy the full summer.

Maintain some diversity in the summer. Maybe 2-3 weeks at most per camp, or, if your child stays longer, make sure that the programs each week vary. You might try having some weeks of half day camp also.

Can you tell us about iD Tech Camps? What makes you different from other camps?

You can make your own video game! You can create your won website! You can work with robotics! How cool is that?  We have very fun, hands-on creative projects.   The camp is also a university-based camp. All of our locations are at top universities, giving kids that excitement of being on a college campus.

We are also a family-owned camp. We have built up trust in the community. When we say we’ll do something, we’ll do it. When you call, you get a person who is there to help. We consider the phone both a great way to get feedback on our camps and a chance to help our customers. And we’re always listening. I review every client service email to make sure we’re providing a high level of service.

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