Overnight Summer Camps: A Wonderful American Tradition!

There are lots of wonderful summer experiences for kids and teens to partake in. Sending your kid to overnight camp is one of the most popular choices. For many, including myself as a kid, spending time each summer away at camp created a fun and exciting adventure away from home. Camp, especially longer program stays of 3 weeks or more, provides a true bonding experience among campers, counselors, directors and staff.

Returning each summer reunites kids with some great friends and creates the opportunity to have fun learning new sports and activities. More than that, overnight camps have special traditions, each one different, but always something special that builds the camping spirit and community. My summer camp memories of color war breaking out, and camp sing downs are good examples of that.

Today’s overnight camps run the gamut. Traditional summer camps, like the one I went to for 9 summers in Upstate NY, have a wide range of sports and activities, everything from waterskiing, horseback riding to arts and crafts, tennis, swimming, adventure activities and much more. (Traditional camps are known for having lots of activities) Specialty camps, another type of camp, typically focus on a particular interest, sport or theme. Some examples include: equestrian, soccer, dance, adventure, mountain biking, performing arts, baseball, music, and computer camps. There are also special needs overnight camps for physically and emotionally challenged children and teens. see: http://www.campcountdown.com/specialty-camps.htm

Camps, especially private ones, can be very expensive. Back in 2002, privately run camps cost between $800 and $1600 per week while specialty camps cost between $500 and $1000. Non- profit camps, such as those run by a youth group or agency, cost between $300 and $800 per week. And by and large, the most popular camp stays are 1 week and those of shorter duration than a full 8 week overnight camp. Specialty camps like baseball camp, golf camp or basketball camp often run 1 week or less and are designed to help your child learn and improve skills and have fun. This is also true of other specialty camps. Of course, each camp is different, and program choices run the gamut. If you are looking, consider first learning more about camp options available. Some factors to consider include: location, budget and type.

Nicole Martins