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
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
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
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, www.CampParents.org, 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, www.CampParents.org or call ACA’s toll-free number, 1-800-428-CAMP (2267).
Reprinted by permission of the American Camping Association, Inc.