I have read many articles about the benefits, drawbacks, failures and successes of summer camp experiences for children. Some simply identify the cost as being the one and only reason to deny a child from a unique and independent experience.
I will flatly oppose this thought since there truly is something for everyone, there are so many scholarships available and I have so many clients over the years who kept digging and trying to get whatever financial help they could get to make sure their child or teenager had some experience that they could identify as being unique, special and somewhat life enhancing and life changing.
This summer I had the unique opportunity to see programs that were traditional, expensive and off the charts luxurious. But I also got to see programs that truly allow me to be an expert and provide insights into programs that, if the right fit for the right child, will most certainly be an awesome experience. A few examples:
Be an artist and an engineer: I visited a program that allowed a child/teen create an idea in their mind and work side by side with adult artists and engineers to implement, create and install their idea on the grounds of the camp.
Be an organic farmer: I saw onions growing next to squash next to keep the bugs away. I saw celery growing…. That was just amazing. I watched children/teens learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and serve foods to their peers. Milking goats, collecting eggs from free roaming chickens, and munching off the snack gardens outside their cabins. Wow!!!
Learn in the woods: Paper and pencil learning under a tent. Unplug, study all morning in platform tents from top teachers from around the world, share your afternoons with other teens from around the world. Learn to live in a world of multi-languages and international manners and civility at the dinner table.
Play music with the best from Jamaica: After exercising on the soccer field, learn an instrument under the tutelage of some of the best Jamaican percussionists.
Survival extraordinaire: Be part of a team able to survive — learning axemanship, build a canoe, clear trails for others, live and learn manners, respect and honor.
My travels this summer were in just a small area in the northeastern section of the United States. Each year, I am simply amazed by the breadth of offerings to children and teenagers and in awe of the creative and dedicated camp directors who turn their dreams into realities. Some of these programs are new and some have been in existence since 1903. Imagine…. And that is just what they do and allow campers to do as well.