The Evolution of Summer Camp

Since Frederick W. Gunn founded the first American summer camp in 1861 summer summer camps have have evolved from an outdoor wilderness experience where boys paddled canoes and built campfires…… to a now astoundingly broad “Camp” term, that also signifies niche and specialty.

Thanks to Mr. Gunn, the great American tradition of summer camp continues to exist today. And even though the campfire spirit of summer camp is still alive; a greater diversity of camp types (film, horseback riding, adventure, computer) are around for boys, girls and teens to choose from.

Keeping an ear to the ground and an eye on changing trends, traditional overnight summer camps (the ones that have a wide range of activities: from tennis, swimming, horseback riding to ropes and drama) have changed considerably over the years, especially to include shorter stays and camp stays in weekly increments. see:

Does that mean that the positive forces of the traditional camp experience, such as: bonding with other campers, improved self-esteem and greater independence, are gone from today’s summer camp experience? The answer is no, and especially for overnight camps with longer stays.

And specialty camps? Kids and teens love these too, and these types of camps provide kids with an opportunity to focus on something that interests them. Just like traditional camps, kids are usually put with others in their age group; but sometimes skill level is a determining factor.

Nicole Martins