October 8, 2010
The camp experience is a distinct American tradition. With more than 140 years of history, camp as we know it today has its roots deeply planted in American soil. While fashion, music, and hobbies have changed over the years, camp has always been a place where children could meet new friends, discover new interests and compete against their own abilities in the context of fun and games.
Over the years the camp tradition has evolved. Children’s camps now offer everything from climbing walls, to trapeze instruction and pilot lessons. Camps specialize in everything under the sun, from scuba diving to rock and roll bands and anything in between. Other camps target a specific population; autistic children, weight loss seekers, or cancer patients. However, over the past 10 years a new concept in camp has emerged, Summer Camp for Families.
Often kids camps have offered a “shoulder season” to their camper’s families so they could spend a few days at camp together. The YMCA and religious organizations have also offered a week at camp for the family to spend together. However, over the past 12 years a new segment of summer camps has begun to attract a new group of campers. American Camp Associated accredited summer camps that dedicate their entire season to traditional, and some not so traditional, summer camp activities for family members are becoming more and more popular.
Camper’s who have never experienced summer camp, ages 2 to 102, have the opportunity to engage in age appropriate activities led by trained counselors. Preschools make puppets and direct their own productions to the delight of their older siblings and parents. School age children learn to build a shelter in the woods, hit a bull’s eye in archery or create paper making their own journals. Teens are trained to sail, learn the lay of the darkroom in order to develop photographs or participate in a lively game of ultimate Frisbee. Adults can join a yoga class, have a massage by a certified masseuse, taste-test locally brewed beer or just take time out to relax by themselves or with their spouse. Families’ tye-dye shirts, play kickball, explore the lake by kayak or canoe, or stargaze together. Even Grandparents get the good fortune to experience summer camp with their kids and grandkids.
As summer camp has advanced through history campers who have never had the chance to experience this slice of summer now have the opportunity to experience it with the ones they love. Welcome to the best summer of your life
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This week has been extraordinarily magical, memorable and spiritually rejuvenating. Camp is wonderful.