Summer Camp, a Guide For Parents on How to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

By: Christopher Pyle


You recognize the benefits of residential summer camps, you care about the experience your child receives and thus you're researching just a bit more. Whether you're a 3-kids-a-year-for-3-years summer camp veteran or a first time parent, there are some things you've thought about.
First, there are a lot of camps. Second, many appear to offer the same program. Third, they're not necessarily cheap. Finally, for the money spent, isn't it fair that I expect a little enrichment?
You're exactly correct in each thought. The volume of camps is overwhelming. They do cost a fair amount of money, there are similar programs and yes you should be able to have your child's person positively impacted while away.
In the perfect scenario your children are receiving the educational benefit without them being aware of it as they'll fully participate and not rebuff your camp suggestion. There are camps with programs aimed at tackling both fronts: fun and education.
Obviously educational camps are college prep style and or camps that are located on university campuses offering summer course work. These are great in their own right but many kids don't want to spend their summer camp in school.
Look for a camp that references team building, a then look for what they do that builds a team. For example, a whitewater rafting camp may point to the teamwork required to paddle a raft down the river. An adventure camp might point to the supportive environment required to hike a mountain or complete a ropes obstacle course.
Look for a camp that references activities that require people to engage one on one and in groups. Buzz words to look for: discussions, community, leadership, evening campfire, interconnectedness, etc. These are camps that have thought enough about the benefits of communication and improving these skills.
Try to locate camps that speak of teaching and learning through experience. Since programs are being pulled from schools at an ever-increasing rate, we're losing this type educational experience. Camps that focus on this type of learning will help to offset some of the loss.
Here, an example of experiential education at work, viewed through the application of a rafting camp. In a camp requiring rafting, campers must learn how to prepare their gear each day, the must work together to get the gear in place, they must work to paddle in unison, they must work together in learning safety guidelines and what-to-do-when-scenarios, etc. Just the activity of rafting encompasses team, employing and exercising all the necessary skills you'd find in a boardroom or in real life scenarios.
If you're exploring residential camps, you probably have the means to send your child. It's natural and good parenting to want to get the most experience for your dollar spent. Your child's life will be greatly enriched from their summer experiences.
While camp is meant to be fun, if you look for the buzz words we mention above, read the guidelines in the previous article linked here for reading between the lines to find the right program, you can have your child in an environment wherein they're learning AND having fun. Both worlds are completely attainable, if you just put a little time in online. Hey, reading this article is an excellent first step. Happy camping!

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For twenty years, Action Whitewater has provided professional whitewater rafting trips: always a leader in youth trips. Adventure summer camps are the organic expansion of this focus as they strive to provide the most comprehensive youth programs on the river. For information, video and photos of what you can expect at an adventure camp, check us out!

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