I’m currently 51 years old. When I think back on my childhood, much of it is lost in a fog — especially the long, boring days of summer break. However, I do have vivid recollections of attending various sleepaway summer camps. I bet many of you have similar (mostly) fond recollections of camp.
My niece Lucy and nephew Henry just returned from camp and my cousin Jones is enjoying his first sleepaway camp. In honor of these young campers, today’s IFOD is chock full of facts about summer camp.
- There are approximately 14,000 camps in the U.S. 8,400 of them are overnight camps and 5,6000 are day camps.
- Over 14 million youths attend summer camps each year
- Camps are a $18 billion dollar industry.
- The cost of attending a camp vary widely: “Resident camp tuition averages can be $630 per week to up to a $2,000+ a week. Day camp tuition averages can be $199 a week up to $800+ a week.” Source.
- About half of summer camps have community service or good deed programs as part of their curriculum. Common areas of service include: community clean-ups, food drives, recycling programs, and volunteering with senior citizens and hospital patients
Benefits of Camps
One of the best things about camps is the ability to send away your little monsters and get a break from parenting. LOL.
Seriously, though, research supports myriad benefits of youths attending camp. The American Camp Association reports that “campers’ parents have reported that when their children return home from camp they are more caring, understand the importance of giving, are more equipped to stand up for what they know is right, and are willing to be more responsible. These are the qualities that will help build a successful nation and a civil society.”
Camp experiences help children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. They help kids build self-esteem and self-confidence, work on relationship-building skills, and discover and explore their talents, interests, and values. Campers report enjoying getting out of the set social structure and cliques of their schools and neighborhoods and making new friends without preset social standing.
For youths from marginalized neighborhoods, going to camp provides a welcoming and safe place. Colin Powell had this to say about the benefit of going to camp: “It gets them away from a neighborhood or situation that may exist in their neighborhoods that isn’t healthy . . . It teaches them how to get along with other people – both other young people as well as adults. To give our children a safe place to learn and grow–camp does that.”
Source for this IFOD is primarily from the American Camp Association
Years ago, I used to run a YMCA summer camp in California. We took inner city kids who had often never seen a tree other than maybe a palm tree to Big Bear in the San Bernardino mountains. For too many, the week at camp was the only week during the year they had 3 meals and a snack every day and someone supervising them virtually all the time. They’d often cry when it was time to get on the bus to go home. Help kids go to camp!!