More Discussion on Choosing a Camp

These questions are important and warrant further discussion.  Here is some information from the American Camping Association to help you make camp decisions for your child’s summer experiences.

Near or Far?


Where do you want your child to go to camp? Locally or far away? While each camp experience has something unique to offer your child, this is an opportunity for families to assess what they value for their campers.

Benefits of Camp Nearby


Easier to evaluate and visit

Friends and family are likely familiar with camp

Minimal travel costs

Likely contact with classmates or children from same region


Benefits of Camp Far Away


More choices

Different experiences, different geography, e.g., mountains or oceans—even different languages

Promotes independence, particularly for early and late adolescent campers

Diversity of campers

Chance for family to visit and vacation at close of camp


Session Length Offers Another Choice


Camps offer widely varying options to help parents and children reach their goals for summer fun and exploration. Talking with your child about the goals you both share helps determine which choice is right for you.


Benefits of Short Sessions (one-three weeks)


First-time or younger campers have a chance to learn new skills

Bonds develop with other campers and staff

Great exposure to camp experience with less expense

Minimizes homesickness


Benefits of Longer Sessions (four-twelve weeks)


Strong sense of belonging to camp community

Chance to learn new skills

Development of specialized skills

Multiple opportunities for learning and enrichment

Lifelong friendships

Opportunities to contribute to camp culture


Boys Only, Girls Only, or Co-ed?


Now may be the opportunity to explore the choices and benefits of all boys, all girls, or co-ed camps.


Benefits of Single Sex Camps


Breaking gender stereotypes—girls interact with women in position of authority and boys interact with men who act as nurturers

More opportunities to “be yourself” without impressing or competing with the opposite sex

Camp philosophy may be tuned into gender strengths and weaknesses

Brother or sister camps may share activities


Benefits of Co-ed Camps


Breaking gender stereotypes—girls interact with women in positions of authority and boys interact with men who act as nurturers

Mirrors and prepares campers for everyday living in a co-ed world

Allows families with a boy and a girl to attend the same camp

Offers diverse points of view

Breaks through rigid divisions set up in school when campers participate in equal footing


The Value of Camp for Every Child


What happens when you make the decision to choose camp? You open up a world of discovery and learning for your child, a world that values children for who they are and who they will become. Camp gives each child a world of good.


For nearly one hundred years, the American Camp Association has been serving the camp community and families considering camp. Please visit our family resource Web site,, to learn more about the camp experience, search the Find a Camp database, and explore the world of child and youth development.


For more information about child development and the camp experience, please visit our family-dedicated Web site, or call ACA’s toll-free number, 1-800-428-CAMP (2267).


Reprinted by permission of the American Camping Association, Inc.


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