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JLeslie's avatar

Do you send your children to camp?

Asked by JLeslie (60476points) May 18th, 2012

Day camp?

Sleep away?

Why or why not do you send them to camp?

Is it a specific type of camp? Like a sports camp? Or, just a typical camp where kids swim and play games?

Did you go to camp as a child?

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23 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Alexey (almost 6 years old) will be going to a summer day camp this year. The kids are bused to and from the camp and it’s from 9 am to 4 pm. He’ll be going to a sports-camp, at Aviator, because I want him to learn how to skate and do gymnastics and get in more swimming. When I was a child, I never attended any camps.

ucme's avatar

Not specifically no, we’ve had the occasional camping holiday, but that’s about it.
I camped out with some friends only the one time when I was a kid, it was in one of their gardens quite close to my home.
I lasted about an hour before I grew restless & went home to bed, I like my home comforts.

JLeslie's avatar

@ucme In America we use the word camp for kids to mean basically where kids go during the summer that has some structure and activities, not the same as camping out, although frequently sleep away camps are in the countryside near lakes and in the woods. Some camps are for sports, like soccer camp, where the child might go away for a few weeks and there is an emphasis on soccer and soccer instruction. I went to a performing arts camp in my early teens, we stayed at a university in the summer, in a dorm, and had classes in singing, acting, and dancing, and then did a performance for the parents on the last day when they came to pick us up. Not sure what term you use in the UK?

wundayatta's avatar

My kids go to a camp that they dearly adore. My daughter will be a CIT this year. My son thinks of camp as his true home, and our home as his second home.

It’s an amazing camp in that it has very little other than cabins, a dining hall, a river, a field and trees. The kids don’t have to do anything. They can hang out in the main area all day, swinging on the swing and playing ping pong if they want.

I think what they love is the relationships. The camp emphasizes being nice to each other, and so the kids are, and I get the sense that everyone knows everyone and everyone is nice to each other—even the kids with disabilities and social problems. I don’t know how they do it, but it is amazing.

I went to camp as a child. My father went to the same camp. So did my brother. I had a wonderful time and I wanted my kids to have the same experience. This camp has a tiny pool that is always cold. It has a river you can’t see into due to sediment. The river is populated by carp and snapping turtles. If there’s a hurricane, it overflows and washes out the camp.

Yet the kids love it. They love the food. They love swamp stomp. They love the other kids in their cabins. My son loves catching Moby Carp. He especially loves taking off his shoes when we arrive and not putting them back on until we come to pick him up.

So the kids will be gone for four weeks. At their request. Even if they don’t provide much, it still isn’t cheap.

What should we do? My wife can’t fly because of lymphedema.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My stepkids have a lot of extracurriculars but not camp. They’re also teens, two of them graduating high school next week so I don’t think camp appeals to them at this age.

Me, I did go to summer camps and also short survival type camps. I loved it! Our local YMCA was mostly day camp where you’d go in the morning and then be picked up in the late afternoons. A few times during summer then there would be sleep over at the camp which was in the SoCal foothills- those were cool because there were bonfires and outdoor cooking. The away camp sessions were for pre teens to learn survival skills and to appreciate being dirty outdoors, okay stuff.

I wish all kids could experience a week away from home where they can sleep in bags, make fires, fish, swim, build rafts and break through some of on-schoolyard social crap that being out of element brings.

YARNLADY's avatar

When my oldest son was growing up, I usually sent him to a summer camp for a week or so, and he also attended local park district day camps.

My youngest son attended various Baseball training camps from the age of six through age 16. He was one of the youngest players ever admitted to the Tony Gwynn San Diego School of Baseball when he was six. They opened admission to two young players that year, and the other one was the son of a major league player. They had live-in camps in the summer and winter, and he attended both, plus spring training day camp. His Dad or I went to the live-in camps with him as volunteer aides.

When he turned 15, he joined the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps and he attended various Navy Sea Cadet Training camps until he turned 18 and went into the Navy.

The only camps my adult grandsons attended were sponsored by the school or the after school care club they attended.

When I was growing up, the three children in my family attended church camp every summer and school holidays from ages 12 through 17.

SuperMouse's avatar

I do not send my children to summer camp of any kind. I am fortunate enough to be able to be home with them during the summer so there is no need for summer camp.

ucme's avatar

@JLeslie Oh yes I know, just thought i’d put my own slant on things, carry on camping!

JLeslie's avatar

@SuperMouse So, you relate summer camp as somewhere kids go because their parents cannot be around to watch them? I find it interesting, because I have some friends who never even seem to think of sending their kids to camo, while others automatically assume kids go to camp of some sort. Not sure if it is cultural, or financial, or just availability in their part of the country? Sometimes a family tradition, like @wundayatta mentioned.

whitenoise's avatar

We promised oud two boys (9 years old), they can go to sailing school / camp this year. They really look forward to it. It surely beats having to spend their summer here, around the house.

In summer most all their friends return to Europe or other home countries. They too, will spend most of summer back home in Holland. I’m sure we could have found something els for them. ( like stayin with my mother or my in-laws), but I feel this will be great for them.

Sunny2's avatar

No. They were involved in excellent school and community center activities in the summer and we took a family trip each year. They both were summer camp counselors when they were teens.

Mariah's avatar

I should have gone to camp. When I first left home to go to college I realized very quickly I had never been apart from my parents for more than a week at a time. That was weird.

Plus, space camp would have been so fucking cool.

gailcalled's avatar

I went to an 8-week sleep-away camp for 6 years in a row and loved it. The camp was on a hillside in rural Maine with a beautiful cold freshwater lake at the bottom. I hiked all the big peaks in the White Mts. and Mt. Katahdin, took long canoe trips, had competitive color wars.

I tried it with my kids and they loathed the idea; so we bought a camp (euphemism for large house with outbuildings) on Lake Placid and let everyone hang out there; they hiked all the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, took long canoe trips, swam in a beautiful and cold freshwater lake and competed among the five of them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie This summer, since mom is off on mondays and tuesdays and my aunt is off wednesdays and thursdays and I’m off thursdays and fridays, we could have stayed home with him but clearly specific camps offer children skills that we cannot teach…it’d be quite boring for him to be with us all the time, I think and he’d get less from it.

geeky_mama's avatar

As a child I went to a Lutheran church camp that sounds a lot like the one @wundayatta describes for his kids. It wasn’t anything fancy, and honestly I don’t remember it being all that religiously focused at all – but we occupied ourselves with games of Capture the Flag and campfires and nature hikes. All the kids were nice to each other – it was unusual for that aspect..a strange “time out” from life where everyone was co-operative and kind.

I went back every year until I was about 14. Once I was teen-aged I did adventure type trek programs at the camp – most memorably a bike/canoe trip that spanned the hilly Amish country roads in Ohio. It was wonderful.

My final summer camp experience was the year between my Freshman and Sophomore year of High School. My dad was on the board of a YMCA camp and so I was sent there instead for 4 weeks.
It was horse camp – so I had my own horse to care for and ride as often as I liked for the entire 4 weeks. During the middle of that time I remember that I left camp briefly (for a day or two) to testify in my parents highly contentious divorce (it went to trial and dragged on for weeks—mainly while I was away from home at camp, thankfully). I remember that I was still happier at camp..bug bitten, kicked by the horse repeatedly and shoveling manure & picking manure out of my horse’s hooves than I was at home.

Based on how much I loved camp I’ve always tried to convince our kids to try it.
They are just not interested. Granted, life is pretty good at home – and both my husband and I work from home when we aren’t traveling…so our kids have a pretty sweet life in the summers. They sleep in, lounge around the house and then we occasionally take them to the pool or to a museum or movie or to a friend’s house…it’s truly a vacation for them.

Our oldest daughter (now 14) tried a stay-over Girl Scout camp a few years back and liked it okay…but not enough that she wanted to go back again the following year. This year she’ll go for a month of a stay-abroad (homestay in Germany) ...not summer camp per se, but definitely a long time to be away from home at age 14/15.

Our middle daughter has always been painfully shy so she only goes to camp when I go with her (I’m her Girl Scout troop co-leader) so every year we take the whole Girl Scout troop to a wonderful Girl Scout camp for a few days. Our daughter LOVES camp—but only while I’m there with her.

My youngest son goes to Boy Scout camp – but again, his dad is the Den Leader – so he goes together with Dad and his friends from home. I think he’s extroverted enough he’d be happy to go to stay-over camp by himself…but he’s still a bit too young for that. Maybe in a few years.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My kids will probably both go to church camp (hush!) with their friends this summer. They get to bike, hike, swim, zipline, etc… and apparently the food in the “chow hall” is pretty good. They’ll be going different weeks, though, because there is a huge difference between what the older kids and younger kids are allowed to do. They’re only gone for 5 days, and come back exhausted, LOL.

I went to a church camp each year as a child, a place called Mt. Lebanon. We had a blast, and I loved getting to go to “canteen” to pick out chips and ice creams.

SuperMouse's avatar

@JLeslie I do tend to equate summer camps with childcare. Around here that is what they are primarily geared toward.

Cruiser's avatar

I sent both boys to Boy Scout camp and my oldest was a counselor last year. To think in two short years it will be 3 months at college opposed to 3 weeks at camp….sigh.

I did go to a YMCA Camp as a kid and it was both a great time and one of the worst memories of my whole life.

wundayatta's avatar

Day camp is definitely a form of childcare. You can use it as a tax deduction. Overnight camp is not only not deductible, but it is a very different beast, especially socially. That’s what sleeping overnight in a cabin of ten other kids your age creates. People make very special summer camp friends. This may not translate into permanent friends, although it could if your home is the same town, but it is a very intense set of friendships.

Most overnight camps have all these hokey traditions, as well. They have songs and activities that only they do. Kids remember this stuff forever.

I grew up in a home where my mother stayed home to take care of us, but even she wasn’t used to us being around all the time. Sending us off to camp also let us learn all kinds of things my parents couldn’t teach, like canoeing, sailing, swimming, and more. We got to do archery and riflry and camping. There was football and basketball and baseball and soccer to be played. None of this stuff was available at home, except with a lot of work. Camp makes it so easy.

JLeslie's avatar

@SuperMouse When I was little I went to day camp even though my mom didn’t work. Similar to what @wundayatta said we sang camp songs, and learned things we would not have otherwise. This when we lived in NY. Then we moved, I was a 5th grader, and my mom started working, and I was basically home with my sister on my own, which now that I think of it, I was very young. There was a “day camp” at my elementary school, it was something like $5 to be able to go. So, I did that a couple summers, not daily, but went there a lot to do crafts, it was walking distance from my house. Some parents definitely used that day camp at the elementary school as a place for parents to put their kids because they worked and needed someone to mind their children. Plus, I went with my grandma for three weeks in the summer to the catskills, which was almost like being in camp really. It was like the movie dirty dancing, up in the country for a few weeks, all the kids hung out together. I took tennis lessons, swam, picked berries, took dance lessons, played games.

Later, as I mentioned above I went to performing arts sleep away camp. And, one time I went to a sleep away camp a friend of mine went to, and I hated it. I didn’t stay the whole time, my parents let me come home as soon as they knew I was unhappy there.

Camp was sort of an assumption. My parents put me in camp very young, so it just sort of seemed like that is what you do.

My mom and her sister went to sleep away camp, and my grandma wasn’t working when they were children.

I think part of it was so parents could get a break from the kids, but the other part was it was for the kids.

Most of the people I know who send their kids to camp for a nonspecific reason (meaning not for a specific sport or say space camp) live in the northeast. But, of course there are people in other parts of the country who do it, but it is just something I noticed when I compare my friends in the midwest to the east coast. I don’t know how much my observation of a regional difference really translates to the masses, or is just my group of friends. Maybe partly because they live in larger cities and camp in the countryside is a very different experience? Not sure. I think it has more to do with tradition in the family. But, not sure of that either.

augustlan's avatar

My kids went to a variety of camps, but would never agree to sleep-away camps. They missed out on some great opportunities because of that, I think. They went to regular day camps, some sports oriented camps. Probably the best camp they attended was one that was only for teenagers and focused on volunteering. One half the day would be spent doing volunteer work and the other half would be recreational (swimming, going to the park, watching a movie), ending in a day-long trip to an amusement park. They got to experience a lot of different types of volunteering, and had a good time doing it. This was mostly all while I was a stay-at-home mom, and none of the camps were for the entire summer. They always had some down-time, too. As they got older, they decided they’d rather have more down time, and opted not to go to camp any more.

The only opportunity I had to go to camp was through school. In sixth grade, there was a week-long sleep away camp trip. It was okay, but someone stole my favorite stuffed animal there, and that’s what I remember most about it. Grrr.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I attended three different camps as a child. Eight were spent at Girl Scout camp. It lasted two weeks, and when we turned 13, we were allowed to camp overnight during the second week. The camp was held on a farm that included a creek and lots of undeveloped land. It was a great opportunity to learn basic survival skills, team work and camaraderie. When I was in high school, I was asked to help lead a canoeing group during a local Girl Scout jamboree.

The second was a church camp. It lasted a week, and we stayed in cabins on top of a hill. It was my first exposure to meeting people from all over the US. When I was a teen, I worked there for three summers at the conference center

The third was a month long recreational day camp put on by the city in the local park. Kids were broken up by age groups. The instructors were often high school student volunteers. Each week, we had three or four activities to attend and then were rotated to another group of activities. Whether this was planned or not, one of the main benefits was that my age group included people a year or two older that were already in middle school. When school started back up and I entered MS, these new friends were willing to help guide me through the change.

The third was a church camp. It lasted a week, and we stayed in cabins on top of a hill. It was my first exposure to meeting people from all over the US. As a teen, I worked there for three summers at the conference center as a waitress, lifeguard, dishwasher and in the snack/gift shop. It helped prepare us for not only college life in a dormitory, but the working world as well.

All three were well-run, cheap, and created invaluable opportunities. Thank you Mom and Dad.

gailcalled's avatar

@wundayatta: Thank you for saving me the trouble of writing this;

“That’s what sleeping overnight in a cabin of ten other kids your age creates. People make very special summer camp friends…it is a very intense set of friendships.

Most overnight camps have all these hokey traditions, as well. They have songs and activities that only they do. Kids remember this stuff forever.

..Sending us off to camp also let us learn…canoeing, sailing, swimming, and more. We got to do archery and riflry and camping. There was football and basketball and baseball and soccer to be played.”

I was captain of the archery team when I was 12. I made many lanyards and clay ash trays for my mother. I played Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” since I had long hair.

Open your window and listen carefully. I will sing the Camp Accomac (RIP) anthem.

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