What’s in a summer camp?

summer camp

Raising a family can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Indeed, as a caregiver, you get to experience your children’s most precious moments. Nevertheless, allowing them to experience new things can be very frightening. For instance, many parents send their children to summer camps each year. Although summer camp is by no means a great fit for every single child, almost every kid benefits greatly from joining a summer camp community, especially when care is taken to match the child to the most appropriate camp. That said, the following is a closer look at the concept of summer camp, according to John Dockendorf, a retired camp director who has owned three different summer camps.

What is Summer Camp?

For those who are yet unfamiliar, summer camp is a summer program for young kids and teens that allows them to get real-life experience, spend time with role models who aren’t parents, boost their self-confidence and life skills, and compose new narratives about the person they can become. Here is a list of benefits parents can expect from a well-run summer camp experience:

  • Promotes a sense of independence
  • It gives some children a better understanding of their potential
  • Allows them to explore new outdoor activities that can not be easily done at home
  • Keeps kids physically and  intellectually engaged when school is not in session
  • Teaches kids how to respect the differences of others
  • It helps kids learn how to forge better, more meaningful friendships and make friends from other parts of the country
  • Supports a healthy diet and active lifestyle
  • Helps boost self-esteem, self-confidence, resilience, and self-responsibility
  • It helps children learn how to connect with nature and the outdoors
  • Teaches kids how to have fun and develop hobbies without the use of technology
  • Promotes a sense of cooperation and teamwork
  • Builds communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking
  • Allows an opportunity for kids to build healthy relationships with adults who are not their parents

Although each child may not receive all of the benefits mentioned here, summer camp creates a unique environment that creates the foundation to help foster these skills in the future.

Types of Summer Camps

When it comes to sending your kids to summer camp, be sure to choose wisely. Here is a list of the various types of summer camps to pick from, Each type will provide different benefits and attract different types of kids. Camps come in a variety of formats, day camps where campers sleep at home at night, overnight camps where campers stay from one to eight weeks, and sports camps, where the emphasis is more on building specific skills than building a community or life skills. Depending on the camp, campers may sleep in college dorms,, in rustic cabins, or in a tent in the backcountry:

  • Sports camps
  • Musical camps
  • Art camps
  • Computer camps
  • Day camps
  • Outdoor adventure and wilderness camps 
  • Overnight camps with a variety of outdoor activities
  • Academic camps that prepare you for college life
  • Teen tours
  • Religious camps
  • And more

Thinking About Enrolling Your Child in Summer Camp?

Overall, if you are considering enrolling your child in summer school, you’re in great company. Many parents choose to send their kids to summer camp to take advantage of the benefits mentioned here. Either way, according to camp expert John Dockendorf, every parent should take time when making this very important decision, thoroughly vetted the camps they are interested in, read reviews and be sure that they’re enrolling their children in the summer camps that best suit their needs. After all, the right camp choice can be one of the best parenting decisions, a parent will ever make!