Summer Camp—A Learning Experience

When people think of camp, they think—Fun! But the benefits of our children attending summer camp is so much more than just having fun. What’s really important is the value of the experience and what children learn. It teaches you how to be a good citizen and how to be successful in life. Very strong and lasting lessons about how to be a contributing member of a community are made at camp. You can interview people 20 years after they have gone to camp and they will tell you about their experience at camp with great clarity.

Campers learn not only about themselves, but also about relating and interacting successfully with their peers. They become self-reliant and, at the same time, learn to work as part of a team. Lifelong friendships are made at camp. For some, supportive networks are created that continue throughout life. Children meet people at camp they may not come into contact with in their everyday lives. It breaks down barriers that kids often put up between each other. The school cliques don’t operate at camp.

Camp should also be seen as a health benefit to a society concerned about childhood obesity. The best way to encourage activity in children is to send them outdoors. At summer camp, children are almost always outside and in motion. Kids quickly become aware of their physical ability to challenge themselves in various ways. Whether it’s horse back-riding, rock climbing, swimming or hiking, whatever physical activity campers are participating in, they are developing strength and setting and accomplishing physical challenges that builds confidence. This self-confidence transfers to other areas of a child’s life.

Camps can create many curriculum-related learning opportunities, whether it’s earth science, music, theatre, physics, art or math. The camp classroom is effective because it is situated learning. What they are learning becomes real for kids and they never forget it.

There are a wide variety of camps available for kids of different age groups. While many overnight and day camps are expensive, many camps go out of their way to make fees affordable for parents with several children or who may just be cash-strapped. Many camps offer some sort of financial assistance to families and that cover a portion or all of the camp enrollment fees. Assistance of this type is usually awarded based on need and parents need to apply early. Grants and sponsors allow some summer camps to be free for kids. Art, writing, theater, math, science and reading are some of the themes of these free camps. Day camps are an affordable option as compared to weekend or week-long camps. Campers can enjoy similar activities and the costs are much more within their means.

The below links offer information for various camp registrations: