Ah…Summer Camp for Kids…so many choices! But the best, no doubt, is overnight camp. The summer after seventh grade, I went to my very first overnight summer camp. The sleepaway camp experience was new for me, and that summer ended up being the best one of my (so far) very short life. If you’d ask me, even now, I say summer camp is the best, no, THE BEST, experience of my childhood! When I got married and had kids, I told my husband very firmly that all our kids would have the same experience. My husband, having never experienced the magic of being away from your parents for a month at a time, couldn’t understand my insistence on why summer camp is the best experience ever for kids.
What is Summer Overnight Camp?
Sleepaway camp is a totally different experience than day camp. After the first few days are spent getting comfortable with each other, kids in the same bunk will become more like siblings than friends! The 24/7 immersion with their cabinmates means that your kids will wake up with their friends, eat with them, play with them, craft with them, argue with them, and make up with them. Day in, day out, they have no choice but to get along and roll with the punches. Don’t like what’s being served for dinner? Too bad. You can eat the sides. Counselor chose arts and crafts for your first period and you prefer sports? Too bad. Learn to love crafting. Or at least have fun with your friends while hating on your activity! The point is, kids are so fully immersed in the experience, they enjoy even what would normally be a hated activity, because they are doing it with their stand-in siblings. There are tons of structured and unstructured activities at overnight camp – color wars, sports, water fights, swimming, drama, archery, and they continue through the evening with all-camp activities. Counselors get in on the fun too!
Why Summer Camp is Important
Sleepaway camp is important (essential, I would say!) for a few reasons.
- Become independent – your kid has to get dressed, shower, serve themselves all by themselves. Sure, the counselors are prompting them along, but bottom line is that nobody is checking them for dirt behind their ears or how well they brushed their teeth. They have to be responsible for themselves!
- Learn to share – your kids has to share with at least 9 other kids in their bunk. From bathroom space to meals, your kid learns how to take turns and how to fight for their place in line when needed!
- Get unplugged – one month with no TV or tech – sound too good to be true? Your child won’t even miss their gadgets – playing outside and connecting with their surroundings will be that enjoyable.
- Get social – In today’s tech-heavy world, it’s rare that our kids get to have the old-fashioned kind of socialization we had in our generation, without the interference of social media apps. They learn how to pick up on social cues, speak to each other, how to argue, how to make up, and yes, how to behave with groups of kids, some not their “preferred” types. A great camp will be heavy on social lessons, including being respectful to others.
- A chance to be different – no matter who your child is at school, camp is a completely separate setting. Your kid comes to camp unlabeled, and it’s a fresh start. Even as they keep coming back to camp every summer, the year in between is enough time to let bygones be bygones and start anew.
- Friendships and memories that last a lifetime – Overnight camp is such a unique, enjoyable experience that the impressions left last a lifetime and influence campers through adulthood. Your child will be making lifelong friendships with treasured memories that will last forever
How much is Summer Camp?
The price of overnight camps varies widely, depending on the duration, proximity, and services the camp offers. Camps start at about $700 per week and go upwards of $3000 per week! For more cost efficient options, check out YMCA camps. You can also opt to send your kids for shorter one or two week durations (although for the full experience, one month is recommended!), and expand your search radius. Camps that have specialty activities, such as horseback riding, tend to be more pricey.
If you’ve been hesitating…don’t! Register your child, and be prepared for the inevitable first words that come out of their mouths when you see them for the first time after an entire month “Next summer, I want to go for TWO months!”
And don’t forget to label everything you send to overnight camp with our stick-on clothing labels and waterproof labels in our Camp Labels packs!