Summers at camp promise lifelong memories and character building.
Campers of all ages get a taste of independence while learning responsibility. Sleepaway camp morphed my identity, built my confidence and provided me with the space to bloom all while making my bed and completing my daily work-wheel tasks. With peer modeling and counselors, campers undertake new activities like, rocketry, archery, canoeing, major jacks competitions, color war and inventing new rainy day bunk activities.
To some parents, day camp is glorified babysitting. To others, it’s a chance for their children to evolve. These parents understand that camp can offer children a fresh slate. Perhaps the children who aren’t acclimating well at school will excel at camp.
At summer camp the days feel like weeks, weeks like months and months like years. This sentiment is echoed by Paul Isserles, director of Camp Jacobson at Robinhood, “The children experience so much in a short period of time that it creates bonds that are different than most bonds formed in school or other places. The overall feel and culture of each camp can magnify the level of what this experience will be. Camp is a place for a kid to be a kid.”
The American Camp Association has accreditation standards for camps and set policies and guidelines such as safety and hiring practices.
Finding the right camp may take a few summers. Your kids may want to follow their friends, but camps foster a social life beyond hometowns. Start asking friends about the different camp environments or contact a camp consultant. Their services are free to parents as they are compensated from the camps.
Arlene Streisand of Camp Specialists, focusing primarily in sleep away camps, says that it can “take around two years to find the right sleep away camp and one of the largest determining factors for most parents is the camp's management team.” Streisand and her team is now guiding parents for the 2012 summer and recommend parents see the “camp in action” during the summer.
Camp consultants help assess and prioritize the camp preferences by considering preferences including budget, coed or single sex, specialty (academic, sports, performing arts, music, science, and so on), location, lake or pool, religious based, special needs, and weight loss. And there are other intangibles such as competition level, philosophy and discipline measures. And don’t forget traveling teen tours.
Camp is for kids of all ages, and I say start them young.
Nursery school camp programs are not just pre-school with sprinklers. Take it from Shelley Roff, executive director at theShe says camp “encompasses many of the same elements that our school program has with the addition of much more outdoor time, water play and more sports and games. The children love these activities and it makes the atmosphere of camp a little more relaxed and free. The slower pace and added activities make for a special time.”
However, there can be hefty price tags at some camps – $5,000 - $9,000 for full programs. That's why parents may opt for shorter summers, the YMCA or alternative ideas to camp, like theor a family vacation.
Camp is a one of a kind experience.
Summer Camps & Summer Programs (this list is not exhaustive, if you know of other summer camp programs please leave it in the comments below):
Early Childhood Center at
Future Stars Camp –specialized
Oasis on the North Shore (Tully Park - New Hyde Park)
Reconstructionist Synagogue of The North Shore
More Camp Resources: