Hard to believe with our winter weather, but it s already time to start registering your kids for summer camps. In this week s Parent to Parent, Chelsea Hendrikx from the American Camp Association shares more.

How do camp experiences enriches lives?

For 150 years camp has been the natural extension of traditional education an expanded learning environment that provides hands-on experiential education. One important way camp enriches lives is by teaching what the ACA has calls 21st century skills, such as independence, character, leadership, problem solving, interpersonal communication, teamwork, goal-setting and service. ACA research shows that 92% of campers and 70% of parents indicate a higher level of self-esteem as a direct result of the camp experience.

How can a camp add to a child s education?

The developmental growth that occurs at camp is a precursor to academic achievement. Camp stimulates thinking and problem solving and encourages a sense of adventure or curiosity. It also reduces summer learning loss by engaging cognitive skills while the child is not in school. The 21st century skills that develop are then directly applicable to the school setting teamwork, goal-setting, problem solving, etc.

What about the fun factor. Should children just be having fun at camp?

Camp is definitely about having fun but it can also provide opportunities for campers to learn more about themselves as individuals, what their role is in a group setting, build relationships, develop skill that will help them in society and the job force years down the road, and participate in a community. So, while they have fun playing games, practicing archery, and swimming in the lake, the experience is actually benefiting the whole child in his development, rather than just one aspect.

How can parents figure out the best camp for their child?

The most successful camp experiences occur when families and children work together to find a camp that best matches everyone s needs. You probably need to ask these questions...

  • What is your child s age?
  • What are your child s interests?
  • Is your child ready for a sleep away camp?
  • What are the expectations? What do you or your child want to get out of this camp?

One of the best places to check out about a hundred different camps at one time is the ParentMap Camp Fair, Saturday, February 4th from 10 a-m to 2 p-m at St. Thomas School in Medina. Best of all, it s free to the public.

For more information, go to

Read or Share this story: