Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Camp Options 'Cause Summer is Just Around the Corner...Almost

Summer camps now a days, come in all shapes, sizes, themes and duration.  When I was kid, there were day camps and sleep away camps.  Period.  And, whether you commuted for the day or stayed for a month or two, these camps offered water activities, sports, arts, music and drama.  Today it seems that you can find a summer experience for all kinds of kids, themes, and affinities.

At http://www.camppage.com/ , for example, you can find a multitude of camping options (which you can then search by regional locations) according to "camp type" or by "camp activities":
  • Camp Type
    • day camps
    • residential camps - coed
    • residential boys' camps
    • residential girls' camps
    • adventure travel camps
    • organization camps (such as 4H, Boy or Girl Scouts, JCC, YMCA)
    • religious camps (such as Bible study, Catholic, Christian, or Jewish)
    • special interest camps (such as military, weight loss, or wilderness therapeutic camps)
    • special needs camps (for cancer, asthma, diabetes, learning disabled, ADD, or physically disabled campers)
    • summer retreat camps
  • Camp Activities
    • academic and summer enrichment programs (for academic credit, animal interaction, college and SAT preparation, computers, ESL, general academics, gifted, language immersion, leadership, marine sciences, math, nature, computer programming, science, and space and aviation programs)
    • adventure camps (specializing in travel, canoeing, kayaking, caving, challenge courses, hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, "primitive skills", rock climbing, sailing, scuba, snows skiing and snowboarding, whitewater activities, or wilderness experiences)
    • arts summer camps (music, acting, crafts, ceramics, creative writing, dance, drawing and painting, film making, magic, performing arts, photography, pottery, sculpture, theater, or woodworking)
    • computers and technology
    • robotics
    • video game design
    • horseback riding
    • sports camps
Pretty awesome... I want to go to most of these now, myself! 

Here is a video from ID Game Academy.  At first when seeing this I was saddened to see rows of kids sitting indoors at computer stations working independently for the summer.  I think summer should be fun.  But I realize that  "fun" comes in all shapes and sizes ant that this is AWESOME experience for certain teens:

Today, summering requires attention, research, dialogue, and planning.  Parents need to consider economics along with your kids' needs, affinities, strengths and weaknesses while also evaluating the staff, philosophy and physical aspects of various summering options.  Do you use the summer to get a 'leg up' for school, or is this the time to let your kids relax, breathe, and have fun in (hopefully) stress-free environments? Is there proper supervision and safety concerns?  Who is running the camp?  Who do they hire?  Who will be working and supporting your child? 

For our kids, my husband and I believed summer was the time to regroup, have fun and chill, so we initially sent our (nerdy) kids to a traditional summer camp.  The thing is, they didn't love it.  As a kid, my husband loved camp, while I did not.  So, I understood my kids when they were unhappy.  We were at a loss what to do the following summer.  Then the kids' school contacted me to tell me they were recommending our kids for Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Program - CTY.

What they meant (after a closer look) was that my fifth grader qualified to take the SAT's and if she scored above the 70th percentile she could attend their summer programs (kids below firth grade take a national high school entrance exam and must meet similar criteria).  Our kids met the CTY criteria and ended up spending many happy summers there, and not only did they love learning some really cool things (cryptology, learning about and creating inventions, history of disease, international study and model UN to name a few of the courses they took), but they made friends they have kept through high school, college and beyond.

Aside from being a place for bright, motivated learners to chose one from a list of dazzling courses to study - CTY offered my kids the opportunity to interact with kids just like them.  For the first time, they felt they belonged.  The classes were small and aside from classes there were afternoon activities (choice of sports, crafts, nerdy games, movies) and weekend dances.  CTY is not for every bright, motivated kid, but it was for my kids.  The point is that sometimes you have think out of the box and use the summer to fill all sorts of social, academic, and /or emotional gaps left open throughout the school year.

I suppose there are so many types of camps because kids are different.  They have different skills, needs and affinities.  Too bad school isn't like this...yet.  Schools and educators have to better accommodate kids with different skill sets, strengths, weaknesses, affinities and learning styles. But, at least kids have the summers to recoup, rediscover and recover from the stresses and challenges of school.

Here are some websites you may want to check out for summer planning:

Please feel free to leave additional summering opinions/ options/ opportunities/ or suggestions in the comments.  In closing, I hope you enjoy this one last video about summer camp from Whose Line:


    1. I enjoyed camp as a child and my daughter liked some better than others. There were so many choices when she was camp age. A lot different than when I was coming along. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team

    2. I HATED summer camp as a child. They were always doing stuff I was bad at, such as putting up tents and making crafts. Felt inadequate; I would ave rather done something "brainier."

      ROG, ABC Wednesday Team

    3. You were very wise parents to find the perfect fit for your kids.
      I had good times at the church camp I went to. Frankly it was all about the friends I went with and were there any cute boys there. I was a shallow teen but wouldn't trade the experiences for anything.

    4. Oh, I have to say that I LIKE that my kids aren't really into summer camps! ;) My boys go to scout camp and my daughter goes to basketball and horse day camps, but more than that - nope! We like LAZY summer down by the lake, having picnics and swimming. No where to really go and nothing to do! LOL The rest of the year is hectic enough! Anyway, new follower from Tiggerific!

    5. Hi!
      I'm stopping by from the Tuesday Hop.
      Have a great day!

    6. I never went to any Camps when growing up. However, my kids went to 4-H Camp each summer for a week. They loved it. Now a days we have a travel trailer when we go to visit the family, but I don't think that is considered Camping.

    7. Great post! Our kids go to summer camp each year and love it. I am a new follower from the Get Connected Tuesday hop. I would love for you to hop over to Saving and Sharing It and follow back.


    8. I just love summer camp. Thanks for the article!

      I found you via the blog hop & you can find me at http://blueberrysquash.blogspot.com


    9. CTY sounds so neat--I'm so glad you found something that fit your kids! Thanks so much for sharing all these options and linking up at Teach Me Tuesday!

    10. I went to Brownie Camp when I was about 10 and was so homesick I cried myself sick. Never went again. But my daughters love going to Camp Qwanoes, a Christian camp on Vancouver Island, and they looked forward to it every year for many years. I'm glad you found the right camp for your kids.

      abcw team

    11. Horse back riding would be a nice activity for summer camp.

      Crystal Palace & Carousel

      Chubskulit, ABC Wednesday Team

    12. I loved Girl Scout Camp and Horse back riding camp.....but computer camp, circa 1985? Not so much!

      I'm a follower!


    13. New follower from the HOP, hope you come by and follow. Now you are making me miss the days of summer camp lol I actually was a counselor for a few years too.

    14. New follower! Would love to have you follow me back!

    15. Great ideas! Stopped by from Chubby Cheeks, I am a new follower

    16. good for you that summer is just around the corner. ours will take long time to experience that. visiting from ABC Wednesday.

    17. My son is at camp right now!

      Coming by from Blog Hop Friday and following via GFC.

    18. Thanks for linking up with the Stumble Me Friday hop! Stumbled your post :)

    19. Hi, I'm a new follower. I, myself, went to horseback riding camp. I loved it and would recommend it to any kid that likes horses. Please come visit me sometime. Have a great day. http://llloft.blogspot.com/

    20. Come to think of it summer indeed is just around the corner. If we get our teens in camp activities they will surely enjoy it and likewise they will learn a lot and of course they will also benefit it. Just like any other programs camps offer so many good outcomes. It is better than staying at home and doing nothing at all.