There are countless ways to explore a suburb—check out schools, drive through the neighborhoods, hit up local events, head to the farmers market and, overall, do your best to get in the mix with your (possible) future neighbors. But with summer fast approaching, there’s another simple, fun way to scout suburbia like a local: day camps.
While your kids may have hit up local day camps in and around the city—or, even, in a ‘burb you aren’t considering—now is the perfect time to hone in on an area and really roll up your sleeves. By sending your brood to day camp in the ‘burbs, you’ll get tons of benefits—not to mention they’ll have the best summer EVER. But you’ll, hands down, get the inside scoop on a town and be able to better assess whether it’s the right place to call home or not. How? It’s simple.
#1. You’ll Meet the Parents—at SOME Point
Sure, you’ll probably rely on the camp bus to take kids to and from the great outdoors each day, but at some point—or, more likely, some points—you’ll have a chance to meet other parents. Shibley Day Camp in Roslyn, New York offers a ton of activities in the months leading up to camp, with many geared towards new campers. One mom counted eightactivities from the group tour to the Sunday Fundays to the spring fair that brought campers and families together to mix and mingle.
The end result? She got to meet the moms and even exchanged numbers with a few. And Shibley is far from alone—many day camps offer ample opportunities to meet campers and families before and during the season. Just chatting with your fellow camp parents will give you a good sense of who’s who and what’s what—and that’s unbelievably important in your suburban search. What’s more, because not all camp families will come from the same town, you’ll start to get a sense for the different personalities in the surrounding communities, which could help inform your process.
#2. You’ll Get Invites
Tons of kids have summer birthdays—and that means tons of your child’s camp friends will have summer birthdays.Like family activities before and during camp, birthday parties are a great way to get a feel for a town. If your child is in preschool or kindergarten, chances are these won’t be drop-off parties—and, in this case, it’s a plus.
Take advantage of these parties and use them to ask questions, talk to area parents and get a feel for life in that particular ‘burb. People are always happy to talk about where the live and their experiences in the community—so don’t be afraid to ask.
#3. You’ll Hear it From the Kids…
While it’s not always easy to get the full scoop from your kids after a long day at camp, you will be able to suss out their demeanor after the bus drops off. Are they energized and excited, eagerly chatting away about their new friends and all of the fun they had that day? Are they going on and on about teams they want to join and places they need to check out—in the ‘burbs? Are they quiet? Missing their city friends? Not really into it? These behaviors can say a lot about how well they’re acclimating and if it feels like a natural fit—to them at least.
If it’s the former—if your kids can’t wait for the next day and can’t stop talking about their amazing new friends—you might be onto something. At the very least, this is a good indicator that your child’s transition into a suburban schoolwill likely be a smooth one.
#4. You’ll Have an Excuse to Test Drive a Town
Again, you’ll likely lean on the camp bus to take your kids back and forth each day but, with your crew in the ‘burbs all day, you’ll have a perfect excuse to test drive the commute and, even, the community. Head out via car, train, bus or whatever your preferred commute method would be and pick the kids up at camp one day. Or drive out to pick up on a Friday, then spend that afternoon and evening checking out local restaurants, parks, beaches and hotspots—your fellow camp parents or Suburban Jungle Strategist can give you tips on the must-sees.
Just remember, every town has a “summer personality”—what the community looks and feels like after school lets out. Be sure you get a handle on that so you can determine if it syncs with your family’s wants and needs. But, likewise, don’t forget that towns look a lot different when school’s in session, so what you see in July and August might not be what you’ll get come September.
#5. You’ll Get the Inside Scoop
From your kids telling you what activities they have to sign up for, to hearing about weekend concerts, events and open houses from camp moms, you’ll get the inside scoop on where families hang out, what the do for fun and the general vibe of a community. Take those cues as you continue exploring that town and other popular towns that surround. This paired with your Strategist’s insights and intel will ensure you’re scouting the suburbs like a total pro—and that you can quickly and easily find the ‘burb that’s right for YOUR family. And in the meantime? Your kids will no doubt have the best summer ever.
Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.