Summer camp is a common destination for children and teenagers during the summer months in some countries. Children and adolescents who attend camp ("campers") participate in a variety of activities, many of which wouldn't be possible or practical during the school year. Although the traditional image of summer camp is of a woodsy place with hiking, canoeing, and campfires, today's summer camps offer a wide variety of specialized activities. For example, there are camps for the performing arts, rock music, magic (illusion), computers, children with special needs, and weight loss. Religious summer camps, especially those run by Jewish organizations like URJ, Young Israel, Bnei Akiva, and also by Evangelical Christian organizations, are also very popular.
Summer camp is the continuation of a tradition since the mid-1800s. Frederick W. Gunn founded the first camp in 1861. Gunn and his wife Abigail operated a home school for boys in Washington, Connecticut, and took the school on a two-week hiking trip. The Gunns operated the Gunnery Camp for twelve more years. Camp Dudley was founded in 1885 and is currently the oldest continually running boys camp in America.
In most camps, the adult supervisors are called counselors. Counselors are responsible for guiding the campers during activities and ensuring the safety of the campers. In many camps, counselors are assigned to smaller groups of campers, called "bunks", "huts", or "cabins", who participate in activities as a group. Counselors often share living accommodations with their bunk. Most counselors are in their late teens or early twenties, as it is an ideal job for high school or college students on summer break. Although counselor jobs don't usually pay well (often minimum wage or less), counselors receive free room and board. Many take the job primarily for its enjoyable experience.
Summer camp is also known as "sleepaway camp" (American usage) when campers spend their nights at camp. At some camps, all campers stay overnight, and at some camps ("day camps") the campers go home each night. Some other camps allow both day and overnight campers. Summer camp is often the first time that children spend an extended period of time away from home. Missing home is a frequent problem, but with a caring counselor most campers adjust fairly quickly. Many homesick campers find solace in Care Packages sent from their families to comfort them.
Summer camp around the world
In the US, youth organizations, like the Boy Scouts, 4-H, Relgious Groups, and the YMCA, are known for having many camps and integrating them with their own local organizations. According to recent statistics from the American Camp Association (ACA), those three organizations operated more than 440 ACA-accredited camps in the US (approximately 20% of all ACA-accredited camps in the US).
In Canada, especially in Ontario, summer camps are very popular. Similar to American camps about 70% of Canadian camps tend to be affiliated with organizations, the rest of Canadian camps would be private.
In the Canadian Cadet Movement, cadets from air, sea and army elements can go on courses that range from 2-7 weeks at training centres all over Canada.
Summer camp fairs are held throughout the United States and Canada (although mainly Ontario), usually during the winter months. Parents and children can meet camp directors and collect information about summer camps. Admission to these fairs is typically free.
In the USSR, the first summer camps were created shortly after its establishment and were called Young Pioneer camps during the Soviet Union's existence. Their number grew throughout the history of the Soviet Union and they numbered more than forty thousand in 1973, with 9,300,000 children attending them during their vacation every year. After the breakup of the USSR, the number of Young Pioneer camps greatly declined. However, many of the major camps still exist.
They are also very common in France, where they are called colonie de vacances or more more recently centre de vacances. According to the French administration , more than 25% of French children attend this kind of "collective holiday" each year. This country is often said to have a hightly structured practice. For example, the BAFA (Brevet d'Aptitude aux Fonctions d'Animateur de Centres de Vacances et Loisirs) qualification is required for camp counselors.
Himalayas are one of the most beautiful and adventurous terrain in the world.Youreka is an exciting 8-day outdoor learning program, specially designed for 9 to 15 year olds. Children acquire new skills, build on character traits and develop a confident personality. Engaging activities filled with fun and adventure, rich relationships and ‘I did it’ moments, combined with a safe environment, bring out new meaning for participants in Youreka.
There are numerous models of camp with an educational focus that cater to students with differing ages and academic interest.
College credit courses are very popular camps that typically offer students the opportunity to explore a pre-college experience. Typically, students entering grades 10 through 12 stay in the college dormitories and attend summer classes run by college faculty. At the successful completion of a summer program, course credits are awarded, which in turn are accepted by most tertiary institutions. Typically, colleges in the United States offer these programs as it serves as an excellent advertisement and introduction to students to entice them to attend the college as a full time student based upon a memorable summer experience.
Non-college credit courses, such as CTY, are focused primarily on education or on educational-related activities, such as debate, history, or journalism. These camps are often run by colleges or universities, and are usually for children in junior or senior high school. Educational summer camps are different than summer schools as the summer camps often are not offered for school credit, and often have a significant focus on non-academic activities. Students for these programs are often invited or recruited.
SAT Preparation courses, are also widely popular and offered in various camp programs as a mixture of academic learning with summer fun. Often the SAT preparation is offered as a full morning emersion while the afternoons and evenings are geared towards homework and recreational activities. These camp programs often outsource their SAT component from institutions like Princeton Review SAT Prep or Kaplan SAT Prep who provide the teachers and resources.
Enrichment courses are programs that offer a wide range of classes that may have little or no scholastic overlap; however, are taught with the purpose of broadeding the student's conception and interest in many otherwise unknown areas of study. Students could typically explore subjects like Photography, Community Service, Drama, Magic, Scuba Diving, Video Production, Comic Book Design, Crime Scene Forensics, Cooking, Yoga et cetera.
Other camps have become summer training grounds for a variety of arts. Famous examples are Litchfield Jazz Camp, Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp (founded 1942), Stanford Jazz Workshop, Camp Med-O-Lark and Stagedoor Manor.
Across the United States and Canada are many Jewish Summer Camps. Jewish summer camps offer many of the same activities as regular summer camps (arts and crafts, ropes course, outdoor sports, singing, dancing, etc.), but also include Jewish educational components, Shabbat, Havdallah, Israel education, and celebration of Jewish holidays.
Many camps also bring children of all ages around the world. Some camps are often called 'Adventure Camps' - often having a very specific theme. Many of these programs emphasize skill development and personal growth through the adventures offered. Examples of such camps include Voyageurs Youth Trips (offering rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking and backpacking), ActionQuest worldwide sailing and scuba diving adventures for teens, Broadreach Summer Adventures,Broadreach College,Adventures Cross-Country, Adventure Treks,Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing (founded 1990) and Ancient Treasure Hunters. Others are known as "teen tours." Examples include Weissman Teen Tours, Westcoast Connection Tours,Rein Teen Tours, American Trails West and Musiker Teen Tours.
Summer camps can be found that offer intensive instruction in almost any sport imaginable, or that offer quality instruction and competition in a wide range of sports. Camps are split into groups of day camps and overnight camps.
Overnight sports camps fall into two groups. The more traditional of these offer boys and girls the chance to learn and play many sports. Sessions are typically 3 or 4 weeks long, and some campers attend both sessions. While many strong athletes attend these camps, a traditional sports camp program also serves the needs of less proficient athletes by having all campers compete on teams picked by ability - so all kids get a chance to contribute to their team's success in their daily competitions. Some of these camps (examples - Susquehannock in PA founded in 1905, Keewaydin Dunmore in VT founded 1910) have been operating for around 100 years, and generally focus, through the medium of team sports, on the development of the whole child - not just how they are as an athlete but also how they are as a person, a bunkmate, a teammate, and a friend.
A number of traditional sports camps are focused on Jewish youth, and many of these are based in New York State's Catskill Mountains region, particularly Sullivan County, which was home to many coed, Jewish sleepaway camps for most of the 20th century, including Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Kennybrook, Tagola, Kutsher's Camp Anawana, Kutsher's Sports Academy, Brookwood, Camp Diana-Dalmaqua, Lakota, Camp Ranger, Camp Chipinaw, Lakonda, Camp Kewanee, and Olympus. The Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania, particularly Wayne County (such as Tyler Hill Camp, Camp Poyntelle and Camp Shohola), was another concentrated area of these sleepaway camps. Most people who went to these camps remember Inter-camp games, camp-outs, raids, Color War, and re-creations of some of the best Broadway shows.
Many sports camps are of the second type, which focuses almost exclusively on one particular sport. These camps generally do a good job (some a great job) of helping each camper acquire skills in that sport that help them gain confidence and improve their chances of making the team when they return to school. Indeed, some campers are helped to be nationally competitive by way of this kind of intensive summer training. These camps generally run week-long sessions, and some campers may attend more than one even though the curriculum repeats each week. Some single-sport camps offer longer sessions (for example, J Robinson Intensive Camps have a wrestling intensive program that last up to 28 days). Many of the instructors at these camps are coaches of local teams - and thus many athletes get valuable extra time with the coach they play for during the school year (or the coach they hope to play for during the upcoming school year).
Both multi-sport and single-sport camps tend to be run by experienced teachers and coaches (who typically have summers off from their school responsibilities). Cabin staff, instructors, and counselors are typically college athletes. The best sports camps succeed at challenging aspiring athletes both mentally and physically. This is possible in part because many of the counselors attended as campers, and thus there is a vibrant "camp culture" that welcomes new campers into an extended camp family and establishes the high standards that incoming campers are encouraged to achieve.
The best sports camps do much more than just improve a camper's soccer, tennis, lacrosse, or wrestling skills - they help each child become a more skillful athlete, a more gracious competitor, a more committed team player, and a more confident person.
Weight loss camps
Weight loss camps are for children and teens to learn about losing weight and keep it off while having a summer camp experience. Five such camps are Camp La Jolla, New Image Camps, Camp Kingsmont, Camp Shane and Wellspring Camps.
Day camps are more than just daycare. Day camps foster children's emotional, social and physical and creative growth through a range of interactive activities and relationahips with role model counselors. Day camps generally focus on young children typically ages 3 - 12 with the exception of specialized camps that aim to develop specific skill sets which attract campers up through adolesence. They are also less expensive, because they don't entail as many meals or as much supervised time each day as overnight camps. Sports-focused day camps are ideal for younger athletes whose enthusiasm for a particular sport seems endless, or for high-energy kids who just want to run around and play as much as possible.
Camp tuition can be expensive. Similair to travel insurance, there are now insurance policies for families sending their children to camp to cover last minute cancellations, homesickness, medical and emergency evacuations. An extensive camper insurance program will provide the coverage necessary for potential campers and include the following features:
° Reimbursement for cancellation or interruption of program on a pro rated basis plus the additional expense for children to return home or rejoin their trip
° Reimbursement for medical expenses and special transportation for parents to visit children
° Reimbursement for travel delays including meals and accommodations
° Reimbursement to replace or repair lost or damaged luggage and personal articles
° Access to children's online medical records with exclusive Traveler PDQ
Often times a family will give a deposit to enroll their child into camp months before camp will actually start. In the unfortunate event that something happens to the child or the family which will affect the ability of the child to attend camp, it is highly recommended that camp cancellation insurance be purchased to protect your investment.
Summer Camps are not regulated and have their own policies on cancellations. Some camps will refund your deposit but most will not. Check with your camp prior to giving a deposit, and if the camp does not offer a refund, purchase cancellation insurance.
Premiums for cancellation insurance range from 4% - 10% of the cost of the summer program.
Camp Cancellation insurance is offered by CampProtector.com
- Computer camp
- Camping (recreational activity)
- Outdoor education
- List of summer camps
- Fat camp
- Camp cancellation insurance
- The American Camp Association accredits camps which adhere to a set of national standards.
- The Canadian Camping Association is an association of camps across Canada. Accreditation of camps in Canada happens at the provincial level.
- The Christian Camp and Conference Association connects Christian camping professionals and associations around the world.
- The Ontario Camping Association accredits camps in Ontario, Canada
- The Quebec Camping Association accredits camps in Quebec, Canada
- The International Camping Fellowship connects camping professionals and associations around the world.
- MySummerCamps.com The largest Summer Camps & Summer Programs directory.
- CampChannel.com specialized search engine for summer camps and camp jobs
- CampResource.com Online Summer Camp Directory Worldwide directory of overnight, day and travel summer camps and camp jobs for kids and teens.
- KidsCamps.com is the Internet's most comprehensive directory of summer camps, winter camps, and spring break camps, including traditional overnight camps, day camps, teen tours, study abroad programs, and a variety of specialized camps and programs for children and teenagers of all ages
- Allen's Guide to Summer Camps provides a directory of summer camps throughout the world with detailed descriptions and photos.
- CampPage A directory of summer camps in the United States and Canada.
- Summer Day Camps online directory of day camps throughout Canada and the US.
- Summer Camp Directory for New York State Colleges Directory of Summer Camps and Summer Programs held on College Campuses throughout New York State - SummerOnCampus.com.
- Camp-Central offers an online directory of camps throughout Canada and the US featuring Google Maps of the camps location.
- Coed Camps camp directory and job board for camp directors and staff. Also offers camps free directory listings with photos and a user rating system.
- Talk Camp is a website for camp staff to talk about camp.
- Camp Games, Camp Songs, and Other Activities (UltimateCampResource.com).