For many Summer Camp Seems to be an old Fashioned summer activity, Yet writer Josh Noel, of the Chicago Tribune seems to have unique insight that every parent needs to hear. This summer institution is old-fashioned — and as relevant as ever.

Summer camp provides folks with a special place unlike any other, ask anyone who has been to summer camp. Camp is uniquely child centered.Providing an open and friendly place. It’s where you can put aside your reputation from school, avoid a lot of the drama, and just relax into who you really are. That’s a big part of why you make your best friends at camp; you’re not trying to impress or be someone else. It’s just you. All this with some really cool adults providing constant interaction.

Read the article from the Chicago Tribune by clicking on read more.
KEWADIN, Mich. — On a warm summer morning thick with dew, the counselor stood before 50 sleepy kids in T-shirts and sweatpants at the flagpole — the meeting place before all meals — and bellowed, "Good morning, Camp Maplehurst!"

"Good morning," they mustered back.

He asked for announcements.

Nothing for a moment, then one camper offered, "Ryan farts in his sleep."


"Are there any real announcements?"

"But it's true!" the camper insisted.

Another said, "It's Lindsey's birthday Saturday!"

The kids, ages 10 to 16, cheered and descended into chatter. The counselor raised his hand, reeling them back with a simple command: "Listen to your camp family."

After quickly running through the Camp Maplehurst Song ("I've got the Maplehurst feeling up in my head, up in my head …"), the kids headed to a breakfast of French toast, sausage links and strawberry yogurt on plastic trays.

It was an average Camp Maplehurst morning, the details likely forgotten before the last sausage was served (except maybe by poor Ryan). But in the camp family, as the counselor put it, even the ordinary is extraordinary. Every moment matters. Consider: For a few weeks every summer, each camper takes on a few dozen brothers and sisters. They sleep together, eat together, play together, sing together, work together and learn together. They fight and make up. They start figuring out love. They see one another in pajamas and bathing suits. They develop their own vocabularies that allow them to know the differences among the Moose Song, the Beaver Song, the Pirate Song and, when rushed, the Flagpole Song ("This is the flagpole song/It doesn't last too long").

In the togetherness, idiosyncrasies are forgiven. Peer pressure dissipates, or as much as it can at the age of 14. Material things prized back home are made moot. What good is a PS3 at camp?

And judgment is withheld. Don't believe it?

"I don't have many friends at school," said Roberto Soto, 13, of Guadalajara, Mexico. "I like to read, and in Mexico reading is considered nerdy, and if you're a nerd, you're considered an outcast. Here, people are from a lot more places and everyone is open."

Anyone who has been to summer camp knows that the relationships are like few others. Friendships form quickly, intensely and with open minds. Even if camp friends don't keep in touch long-term, what has been shared is long remembered.

One hundred fifty years since summer camp was born, the American Camp Association estimates there are as many as 15,000 summer camps in the U.S., much of the recent growth in specialized camps: music, religious, athletic, etc. Peg Smith, chief executive officer of the ACA, said the camp experience "is probably even more important than it was 150 years ago."

"It is a microcosm of a community," Smith said. "You learn to contribute to that community and to make relationships. Being able to communicate needs and resolve conflict stays with you."

Even the youngest campers realize the difference between what happens at camp and what happens back home.

"There's a lot of drama at school," said Charlotte Thomas, 12, of Short Hills, N.J.

"You get into fights with your friends, but here, you figure it out because you have to," said Anna Stern, 12, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
That was Thomas Cohn's plan when he started Maplehurst in 1955. Cohn, a University of Michigan psychology professor, wanted an outlet for kids built on freedom and creativity not promoted in schools. The camp is particularly popular with kids from Midwestern suburbs and attracts many international campers.

Laurence Cohn, who grew up attending his father's camp, took the reins with his wife, Brenda Cohn, in the 1970s. They deal with issues the elder Cohn never had to address, such as restricting use of MP3 players to afternoon rest time and asking for cell phones at the start of each session.

"The kids don't want to give up their phones," said Laurence Cohn, a psychology lecturer at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. "So we ask nicely."

He figures phones get in the way of the real business of camp, namely, being at camp. It's difficult to miss text-messaging when post-breakfast activities include biking, tennis, archery, arts and crafts, model rocketry, basketball, fencing, golf, kayaking, floor hockey, improvised comedy, tai chi and photography. And that's just before lunch.

Campers can program their own time to learn what they like, Cohn said. But that freedom is balanced by the responsibility of cleaning their cabins daily.

"I don't even have to do that at home," said Jordan Correll, of Farmington Hills, Mich.

Leaving usually ends up being the worst part of camp. It happened a few days early last summer for Maud Foriel-Destezet, 16, because of her family's travel plans.

Seemingly everyone at the camp offered Foriel-Destezet a hug, and tears flowed quickly. Her cabin mates formed a circle and took her in, heads down, arms around one another's shoulders, to create a world of sniffling teenage girls in shorts and T-shirts.

"The real world is waiting for you on the other side," said Margot Kriete, 16, of Birmingham, Mich.

A few hours after Foriel-Destezet had left, those same girls were all smiles while performing in the long-awaited camp talent show. Dressed in brightly colored clothes, they lip-synced to a top-40 hit, leapt, giggled and made new memories.
"What are we to do with our teen this summer?” Many parents wonder. They are looking for a place that offer personal growth and independence but in a safe place, away from the pressures of today. Well the answer has been around a long time, its Summer Camp! Yep, Summer Camp!
Parents of teenagers can find a summer camp that suits the needs of their child. Specialty camp like soccer camp, space camp, science camp, math camp, music camp, are all great at teaching a skill. Yet, traditional summer camp are general camps where camps have fun and work on self development. Wisconsin Camps like Swift Nature Camp a Teen Summer Camp offers coed summer camp programs that are just for teenaged campers up to 15 years of age. A Counselor in Training Program offers a transition for teens aged 16 and 17 (provides leadership training).

Like its summer camp programs for preteens, Swift Nature Camp offers an amazing range of camp activities. Hiking, climbing, ceramics, horseback riding, tennis, kayaking, and whitewater rafting are among the most popular programs among teen campers.

Summer teen camps provide a special opportunity for them to make friends in a relaxed and fun-filled environment, build self-esteem and independence, and meet the challenge of new adventures.

Swift Nature Camp offers teen cabin mates to leave camp together and venture into the wild. The ideal location brings opportunities to take unforgettable trips to the Apostle Islands, the International Wolf Center, and the Mississippi River. These trip are wonderful ways to build bonds among the campers. But more importantly, it helps each child feel a part of the team and want to make a contribution.

All children, especially those in their teenage years, need a break from the accelerating competition of today's world. An intimate, friendly and noncompetitive environment for teens fosters positive encouragement. The atmosphere of acceptance brings a welcome balance to young lives. Even first time campers quickly and smoothly adjust to life as a camper in this kind of setting.

Today's teens grow up too fast and need time to play. An 
Adventure Teen Camps should challenge your teen to try new things, but not in a stressful way. Camp is not school! Interaction with animals can be a perfect way for a child to learn by the natural discovery of play. Besides all the fun and excitement of a traditional camp, the kids have the joy of discovering Nature and the world we live in.

After living life in a beautiful natural setting among caring staff and instructors, teens come to love summer camp. Many teen campers return summer after summer, returning to see friends and enjoy the excitement, self-direction, and goofy fun characteristic of camp life.

Summer camp is a great place to be oneself and a perfect place to make lifelong friends. Teens come to love summer camp and look forward to time away from the pressures of performance, and the change to rediscover themselves.

You can learn more about picking a wonderful Teen Summer Camp. This site is free and give alot of information to parents. 
Summer Camp.
When it comes to chatting with the world outside the woods of Camp Netimus, the girls here go a little crazy with their fonts.
Forget plain old 12-point black Helvetica. Bubbly, heart-dotted letters in shimmery orange or shiny purple reign queen. And banish the image of a simple white screen on which to write. Netimus girls reach for neon green sheets or cards imprinted with cheetah spots and glitter-showered pink flip-flops.
At this 80-year-old traditional residential camp for girls in the 
Pocono Mountains, and at thousands more around the USA, connecting with Mom and Dad requires licks — of stamps and envelopes — not clicks. The medium for talking to Muddah and Fadduh is a message from the past.
The hand-scribbled, shoebox-worthy letter may seem as anachronistic as archery and A/C-free living, but at sleepaway camp, where directors have largely succeeded in keeping two-way texting and e-mail at bay, it thrives.
The practice of putting colored pencil to notebook paper is "old-fashioned," says Ruby Auman, 11, swinging her legs from her blond wood bunk, where her wall is papered with an ink-printed "of course I'm thinking of you" reply from her mom 2½ hours away in Lewisburg, Pa. "But it's not old-fashioned while you're here."

Camp is not just about fun

One reason for swapping a life of zip files for one of ziplines is to practice face-to-face — and pen-to-pen — communication, says Darlene Calton, a Netimus director (and alumna). "There are so many little life lessons you get at camp that are not necessarily learning how to climb on the ropes course. It's about writing letters home and solving problems by yourself" — instead of texting or calling parents and friends every five minutes to seek advice or to vent.
During a Netimus camper's two- to seven-week stay, directors encourage at least one letter home a week, though more prolific girls might write three a day. Cellphones are considered contraband; if one creeps in, it gets a vacation in the camp office. And computers are as exotic as boys.
Indeed, directors say that one of the benefits of allowing the 
U.S. Postal Service, as opposed to Google Mail, to act as messenger is that by the time Sally's letter detailing her fight with cabinmate Susie has snaked its way home from the country, the row has been long resolved.
In his research for Camp Camp: Where 
Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies, a scrapbook of '70s and '80s camp life, author (and onetime Maine camp counselor) Roger Bennett found that through letter writing, "parents could be present and could assuage their concerns, but not so present that they prevented the incredible freedom that camp offered." Thanks to the time-space continuum of snail mail, "they knew what was going on, but could do nothing to prevent it."
"That," he adds, "is a tradition that needs to be preserved."
At the Postal Service, where mail volume has declined dramatically — more that 20% in the past two years — the fact that a generation accustomed to the instant feedback of the Internet is slowing down to pick up a pencil is heartening, says spokesman Mark Saunders. "When you think about summer camp and you think about pitching a tent or living in a cabin, it's just a natural fit. You're exposing children to a means of communication" that's likely foreign to them.
"As technology increases, the call to get back to the basics is more important than ever," says Marla Coleman, former president of the American Camp Association. In a 2007 survey of the nation's 3,000 ACA-accredited camps, three-quarters said e-mail, cellphones and computers were verboten.
"Camp is a place for kids to practice growing up, and when they become adults, they will need to string together more than 140 characters," Coleman says, alluding to 
Twitter's character limit. With basic letter-writing techniques shoved further down school curricula, "where else are they learning to address an envelope? If camp is this expanded learning environment, letter writing is the touchstone of that learning experience."
As proper salutations and closings become less of a priority in classrooms, "it's superb," says Carol Jago, president of the National Council of Teachers of English, that camps might be the last bastion of the form. "Children need an authentic purpose for writing a letter," Jago says. "If the purpose is to get away from the world a little bit at camp, to get away from video games a little bit, then pick up a pencil and let's do it the long way, let's do it the slow way. I think it would be sad to lose that."

A venerable tradition

The survival of the stamped camp letter, a tradition that dates back to the dawn of camps during the late 19th century, "makes perfect sense" to Leslie Paris, an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia and the author of Children's Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp. As part of her research, Paris dug up a 1919 mom-directed missive from one Floyd Frost at Camp Riverdale in the Adirondacks: "This is letter-writing period and we all have to write home, so here goes."
"Camps have always been institutions that were at once very modern, reflecting new ideas about the preciousness of childhood on the one hand," Paris says, "and on the other hand, places that privileged a kind of nostalgic look at the American past."
And today, what's more a totem of America's analog past than the letter?
The pile of envelopes in the "Property of 
USPS"-stamped cardboard box in Netimus' white clapboard office seem as much of a relic as the 1969 "Debby Sharp was here" graffiti scrawled in cabin No. 7. Slid through the office's shin-high metal mail slot, they're creased and lumpy, as though they've been stuffed in a trunk for a while. Addresses are jumbled — the ZIP code, if it's there, heralding the town name, the town wedged on one long line between the street and the state — and they're inscribed, in wobbly script, where the return address goes.
(Ruby keeps a couple sample addressed envelopes taped to her cabin wall as guides. At Camp Kupugani in Leaf River, Ill., each cabin gets a laminated cheat sheet that diagrams correct envelope-addressing form.)
Stamps — dogs and cats and Simpsons characters — are rotated 90 degrees. Last names are missing.
The campers' attempts at engaging in an activity that to them is more novelty than necessity are "so funny," Calton says. " 'Grandma,' that's all it says on the envelope. Or 'Grandma, Rye, N.Y.' It's like, 'OK, who lives in Rye?' "
Inside, the letters are rife with tweenspeak and problematic punctuation, just like in texts, instant messages and e-mails. But how many IMs come attached with pink puffy heart stickers emblazoned "I love U!" in shaky black block print?
Ruby's latest letter asks "if you could have the A/C on when I get home because I'm looking forward to the cold air. Also I'm gonna need some more hair stuff." Hannah Goldman's most recent postcard to her cousins in Wayne, Pa., wonders, "How are you. Great. I miss you. Have a great summer. Please write back."
Hannah, 10, finds the writing process, typically conducted during rest hour in her cabin atop a clipboard or book or against the wall, "sort of peaceful." She has written "like 20" in four weeks. Ruby's cabin B4 friend Sarah O'Connell, who's used to picking up her cellphone to talk to her parents, says picking up a pencil was hard at first.
"I didn't know what to do," says Sarah, 11, who's from Pennington, N.J. "I would write it, 'Dear Mom and Dad,' and then I'd write it all scribbly."
But she has since become a fan. "You feel more connected" to your family, Sarah says. As compared with e-mails — which Netimus, like a lot of camps, allow parents to send but not receive — letters are "more sincere," volunteers 11-year-old Remi Riordan, who's from A4 next door (and Montclair, N.J.). "It feels like it's really for you," vs. "there's a subject line and your name."
Sitting on her lower bunk a few screen doors down, amid tie-dyed laundry bags and Justin Bieber-emblazoned teen magazines, Hallie Cain, 11, of McLean, Va., is diligently working on a birthday card for her mom.
Gabby Birenbaum, the cabin's de facto philosopher on the compulsory epistle, is holding her 10th letter in two weeks, destined for her grandparents in West Bloomfield, Mich.
Does the exercise feel like something her parents did? "Like what my grandparents did," says Gabby, 11, who's from Arlington, Va.
"Camp is an opportunity to unplug and develop authentic relationships," Coleman says. "There really is no substitute for Mom or Dad's handwriting on a letter, the smell of Mom's perfume, the clipping dad has enclosed of a box score. You really can't replace that with technology."
And the thrill of the tangible goes both ways. For 11 months of the year, Amy Levine never ventures to her mailbox in Loveland, Colo., precisely when the postman arrives. But for the four weeks her daughters Lindsey, 11, and Josie, 7, were at Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, N.C., this summer, she would run out to wait for him.
At the scheduled mail-drop time, "my husband instant-messages me, asking if we got any letters," says Levine, 41, a childhood camper turned Web developer who does let technology creep into her ritual: She quickly scans the girls' letters and e-mails them to her husband at work.
"Once you get that first happy letter, it's OK," Levine says.

Olivia Barker, USA TODAY
Almost a month has past since I arrived in Valencia, Venezuela. During the first month, my team and I have become familiar with the title “the gringos,” which is the nickname that most of the citizens here refer to us by. We, “the gringos,” have learned a lot about life in a South American county in recent days. Part of the learning that I have received has been through university students, street merchants, and strangers helping me speak more Spanish everyday.

The apartment complex where my team and I live


Language misunderstandings are numerous here because it is a rarity to run across citizens of Venezuela who have visited or lived in a country where English is the primary language. One exception to that is a 11 year-old boy named Pablo that my team and I met who speaks perfect English. We bumped into Pablo at the apartment complex, Balcones del Norte, where we live.

After talking to him for a few minutes, he offered to introduce us to his mother, Liliana, who is a Engineering professor at Carabobo University (CU). Liliana received her master’s degree in United States at a University in Florida and she lived there for four years with her family. God was good because one of the challenges that my team and I have right now is building connections with faculty members at the university where we work, which just so happens to be Carabobo University.

Connecting with faculty members is a small part of the work that my team and I have been doing at the university lately. We need faculty support in order to help our organization, Vida Estudiantil (the name for Campus Crusade for Christ in Venezuela), grow. We hope Liliana will help us make better connections to student leaders on campus, help us find a suitable spot for our weekly meeting, and help us gain exposure at CU.

My team and I have been working on other tasks in order for our organization to have a strong presence at the university. We have a group of students that lead the Vida Estudiantil Bible Studies, assist in the event planning for our organization, and help get other students on their campus connected with Christ. This group is called the servant team. My team and the servant team have engaged in two meetings so far and it is thrilling to see the dreams that they have for our organization and their university.

Us with Vida Estudiantil students after giving out questionnaires

My team and I have also been sharing Christ with other students we met on campus. We gave out hundreds of questionnaires to students on campus last week. The questionnaires asked if they were interested in attending a bible study, coming to English Club, or getting to know God more. The reception we received from the students was fantastic, around two hundred students filled out questionnaires and we met many new students who are interested in getting involved in Vida Estudiantil.
While giving out the questionnaires were able to inform students of the first English Club that we were having, which we held last week. On the day of English Club, it was incredible to see all the students who attended and were eager to learn English from fluent speakers. Outside of English Club, I have been put in charge, along with Emily from my team, to plan the different outings that we are taking to the local orphanage. We are are planning on going there as soon as we touch base with the pastor that runs the orphanage.

The University where I work at with Campus Crusade for Christ

All in all, working at la Universidad de Carababo (Carabobo University) is quite different then most colleges in the the United States. One of the days that we were on campus medical students were protesting at the university. As the result of the protest, the road that we needed to use to leave via bus was blocked so we had to find an alternative exit route. This sort of demonstration is typical at the university and we need to flexible to the many curve balls that are thrown our way.
Some of those curve balls have been very interesting, I have realized there are many differences (some humorous) between the way people live here in Venezuela and the way that Americans from the United States live. I would like to share with you some of those differences.
Differences Between the United States and Venezuela

The alligator at the University's pond

1. United States: You might find some ducks, geese, or–if you are lucky– a frog at a university’s local lagoon. Venezuela: The University of Carabobo has live alligators in their pond that seem quite hungry.
2. United States: University students have to pay for all of their tuition unless they have financial aid or scholarships. Venezuela: With their socialistic government, students do not have to pay for going to a state university.
3. United States: Playgrounds exist in local communities for children to play at. Venezuela: Venezuela has what my team and I affectionately call “bro gyms,” which are outside work-out centers for people to do push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches.
4. United States: If there is a stray dog in the United States, usually within hours the dog is picked up by animal control. Venezuela: There are stray dogs everywhere, especially at the university, stray dogs linger around students and eat the food they leave behind.
5. United States: In restrooms there is always hand soap by the sinks. Venezuela: NO bathroom has hand soap and Purrell is your best friend.
6. United States: When people want to draw your attention to something they point with their fingers. Venezuela: Venezuelans use their lips to point by kissing in the direction of what they want you to look at.

One of the students, Douglas, me and his mother at our welcome party

7. United States: Gasoline prices fluctuate but they are almost always over $2.00 a gallon. Venezuela: It costs less then a dollar to fill up an entire tank of gas (this is because Venezuela is the third biggest exporter of oil, it is humorous because here it costs more for drinking water than gasoline).
8. United States: Most college-aged students do not attend a social get-together during the night with their parents. Venezuela: College-aged students will bring their parents to parties and other social functions, this is completely normal and in some cases the parent shows up at the social occasion before their child gets there.
Despite all these differences, Venezuela has a lot to fall in love with. When the seven members of my team cram into a bus that has people hanging outside the door, loud Reggaeton music blasting inside, and the bus assertively weaving through three lanes of traffic it hard not to feel alive. Also the people here are so warm and overjoyed to have us here, we experience a lot of warmth and affection. Within talking to someone for a half an hour, the other person will treat you like they have known you for your entire life. Living life in Venezuela, it is near impossible to escape the feeling like you are part of one big family.

Charter into new waters this summer. For many kids, coming to camp is a big adventure! One of the biggest challenges is swimming in a lake. We all have had experience swimming in a nice blue pool. There is security in being able to see the bottom of the pool. Lake swimming is to enter the wild water and to cross a border. You pass the lake’s edge and you break the surface of the water itself. In doing so, you move from one realm into another: a new realm of freedom, adventure, magic and occasional danger. Watch out for those Turtles and Fish! 

Swimming in open water is a new experience that's not to be feared, but embraced. Once you feel comfortable swimming in a lake, the world will open up to you and wherever you see water you will see a new adventure waiting. Swift Nature Camp has over 1500 acres of water right out your cabin front door.

At Swift Nature Camp we have a wonderful swimming area full of fun toys, not to mention Wally (the water trampoline) & Sally (the slide). "Free Swim" is one of the most anticipated times of the camp day, but "Instructional Swim" is there to help give you build the confidence for those free swims. You can even earn 
American Red Cross Swimming levels

Expect to capsize and swim occasionally when paddling a canoe, kayak or raft - it’s part of the sport! But when you hit the water unexpectedly, even strong swimmers need a lifejacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD). It allows you to concentrate on doing what’s needed to execute a self rescue and will allow you to assist others. Nearly 70% of all drownings involving canoes, kayaks or rafts might have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a lifejacket! 

We at Swift Nature Camp believe that your child’s safety is the most important part of camp. That is why we have a strict Lifejacket rule. Everyone must wear a PDF when in a boat. No exceptions, staff and campers alike. THis is true if on a river canoe trip or on on our own camp lake. Water is so much fun and kids love it but it is dangerous and we must be prepared. We even have a special “titanic test” to ensure that our lifejacket fits nice and snug in case of an emergency. Campers learn this the first day of camp.

As camp director of Swift Nature Camp and an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor I know how important proper safety at the waterfront is. Learn about some of our water safety guidelines... 

Be on guard

Swimming areas are filled with distractions, lifeguards must always be aware. Kids could die if one lose his or her focus. Actively scan your area. All at the swimming area must realize that the waterfront is an area of grave danger.

Buddy pairs are very important

 “BUDDY CHECK” Swimming in buddy pairs adds a layer of redundancy to the active scanning that lifeguards perform on the dock or shore. Buddy pairs also give lifeguards something to look for the camper that is swimming alone.
Buddy separation is common and therefore becomes a good target for lifeguards who are actively scanning their area. Lifeguards who make sure buddies are together are making sure campers are safe while swimming.
“Where is your buddy?” is a great question that tells me the lifeguards are doing what needs to be done. This is often followed by the reminder for buddy pairs to swim within 8 feet of one another. THis provides verbal confirmation that the lifeguards are doing their job.

Staff must always swim in buddy pairs 

Staff set a good example for campers and help protect one another when they also buddy up during staff swims. No one at camp should ever swim alone, even briefly.
When I need to hop in the water at an odd time to fix Sally or Wally ( our swimming structures) , I always have a fellow staff member actively spotting me and acting as my buddy. Other staff should do the same.

Avoid so-called “triples” 

Triples are only allowed for a short period of time, until another shows up at the waterfront. If singleton swimmers show up for a swim, I find them another swimmer with whom they can buddy or they often buddy with a lifeguard.

Never swim at night 

As Director, I am at the waterfront for any early or late swims and I call time over when the sky is to dark to swim. Never should campers or staff swim between sunset and sunrise.

Never exceed ratios

 Programs vary, but I’m most comfortable with a ratio of 1 staff member to every 12 swimmers in the water. On particularly hot days, We train our own lifeguard’s so our staff is made of 80% Lifeguards so that ratio is never exceeded. This exceeds the state of Wisconsin’s codes. 

Use PFDs

 When an off-camp trip includes a water element, we follow this rule: “Above the knees requires PFDs.” Even when we are at an island near camp we wear PFD’s to ensure safety. 
PFD’S are always used when a child is in a watercraft. Every time and always no exceptions.
That means that dipping your feet in a cool mountain stream is fine, but as soon as there is any significant wading or swimming, every person is wearing a properly fitting life jacket.
Children enjoy water activities more than any other while at 
Overnight Summer Camp but it is also a very dangerous are if not all safety precautions are not being met.
Choosing a camp is a big decision faced by parents each and every summer. And the summer of 2010 is no exception.
When the last school bell rings, each summer parents want to know: Where to send their kids for camp? It's a choice that shouldn't be taken lightly. Any parent sending their child off better be a little nervous. Before making the decision, put together a list of requirements.
It will include:
You want it to be a safe place
You want it to have caring staffYou want it to promote Funbut there is so much more.

With thousands of Overnight summer camps available -- from day camps to sleep away camps, specialized, private and public camps a decision can be overwhelming.
Yet, 3 simple point will guarantee your child's success: Know your child, know the camp and know yourself. recommends to take your child's personality and preferences into account. Is your child shy or outgoing? Athletic or academic? Independent enough for sleep-away camp or not quite ready to leave home?
'When you know your child and match a camp to their needs, you have a much higher chance for success,'' says Lonnie Lorenz, director of Swift Nature Camp a Kids Summer Camp, with traditional, noncompetitive, activities for Boys and Girls ages 6-15 specializing in nature and the environment.
An important consideration is whether your child would be better off in a more general program like a traditional overnight camp or a more specialized program that focuses particular skills like performing arts, technology, music, sports or academics.
Maybe your child is not quite ready to leave home so a day camp might be the way to go. Children do go to overnight camp as early as 6 but most common is to be 9 or 10. If your child still not showing signs sometimes you just have to say ready or not you have to give them loads of encouragement and send them off,'' says Lonnie.
So now you know the type of camp that best meets the need of your child its time to start checking out camp. Do your early research on the web, but be sure to call references and get brochures. and if possible even visit.
Lonnie suggests that “Parents talk with camp directors to ensure their rules, routines and procedures are an extension of what's followed in their home”. “You want to feel comfortable with the folks your handing your kids over to.” Also consider: child-to-staff ratio, the daily routine and how the staff deals with new campers,homesickness, problems, food allergies Lorenz said.
The most difficult part about summer camp isn't always picking one or paying for it. Camp has become expensive and should be a factor when choosing a camp. Camp can range from $200 per week for a church camp to $1000 a week for a private camp. With these questionable economic times camps are working with families by offering payment plans, financial aid, sibling discounts, scholarships and other assistance.
One of the main functions of camp is helping children gain independence. Yet, often it's the parents who have the hardest time letting go. “We, as parents, want to be there and help our children but kids really benefit when they are left to their own devices in a safe supportive place like summer camp,'' Lorenz said. “Don’t restricting your child because of your personal fears, we have seen it so many times.''
When your child comes home you will hear the stories about all the accomplishment and fun but what you see is that they've leaned to grow in their appreciation of themselves and their appreciation of others.
At Overnight Summer Camps, children are given the choice to take risks and try new things. This voluntary nature makes children more open to new experiences, with personal satisfaction as their motivation. Not only are there opportunities to try new things, but camp offers many areas for children to excel in. At a good general interest camp, the non-athlete can shine at arts and crafts, woodworking, or dramatic programs...
while the athlete can also find many outlets for their skills. Perhaps most importantly, the two campers learn to live together and become friends despite their varied interests.

Kids Summer Camps offer many opportunities to become competent. Practicing both new and old skills on a regular basis, it makes sense that there will be improvement. Novices have chances to learn, while those who are more experienced can improve. Learning new skills and improving on old ones builds self-esteem. Children become more independent and self-reliant at camp with their new found skills.

Sending your child to camp is giving them an opportunity to try something new. No matter how many after-school programs or lessons a child takes, its likely they will never have the opportunity to try all that is offered at summer camp. In a supportive environment, the child can try at something new. The interesting twist to these activities is that, since campers often don't know anyone else at camp before they go, they are more willing to try activities that their friends at home might not expect them to. The athlete can try out for the camp play, while the artist may dabble in sports. At camp, children can try new things and set their own goals for success.

Though years later, your child may not remember capture the flag games or the words to a camp song, the life lessons learned at camp will remain. At camp, a child learns how to take responsibility. The child who has never before made a bed, will learn how to smooth out sheets and blankets and tidy up a cubby. Though counselors will remind and encourage, campers quickly take responsibility for personal hygiene, and for more minor health issues, a camper learns to articulate what hurts and how to get help. All of this personal responsibility further fosters a sense of independence and self-esteem. Camp also improves a child's social skills by making new friends and learning how to reach out to strangers. At camp, children learn to get along with others, all while living together 24 hours a day, learning about courtesy, compromise, teamwork, and respect. Minnesota Camps

During a recent survey of campers in 20 different camps that where accredited by the American Camping Association provided answers to questions like "What did you learn at camp?" "How are you different in school because of what you did at camp last summer?" "How do you feel differently about yourself since you've been to camp?" American Camp Association

Can you think of things you learned and did at camp last summer that helped you in school this year? * I learned to have more patience and to appreciate the things I have. (10 year old female) * I feel that I am better at interacting with friends and family. The people skills learned at camp affected me dramatically when I went home. (15 year old male) * Leadership, organization, water-skiing, make my bed, keep my stuff clean, to keep in touch with my friends, respect, how to handle pressure. (13 year old female)

If explaining camp to friends, what would you say you learn here? * You learn mostly how to interact with different kinds of people and are open to different ideas. You learn how to cooperate well with others who share and don't share the same opinions as you. (15 year old female) * I learned to have fun, be a leader, discipline, and most of all - respect. (12 year old male) * You learn how to make new friends, learn different sports, and learn that camp can be a very good part of summer! (9 year old female)

Do you feel differently about yourself when you are at camp? * I feel differently because I feel like I am accomplishing something by being here. (13 year old female) * At school there are defined groups of people, but at camp, everyone feels wanted. (15 year old female) * Yes, because I'm with people my age and people who respect everyone. (11 year old male) * At camp I think that I can do more and be proud of myself. (13 year old female) * At camp I have a personality that is different from home. I'm less cautious to do fun or exciting things. I don't feel as alone as I sometimes do at home. (14 year old male) * When I'm at camp I feel that I can be more open with myself and others. I tell people things at camp I wouldn't speak of back home. I feel so much more in tune with myself here and I can discuss issues so much more openly. (15 year old male) * I don't have to be fake to anyone. Everyone here accepts me as I am and I'm not judged or criticized. (15 year old female)

Given the benefits of a sleepaway camp, it seems that all children should enroll. There are camps for almost all children, including those with special needs. However, there are certainly children who are not ready for an overnight camp experience. Be sure you and your child are ready to leave home.

Find out how to pick the
 Best Summer Camps.


And the winner is...

Thanks to all the campers and staff that placed their vote for the best Tshirt design. It was very close with this shirt only winning by 1 vote. Don’t worry , if you liked the others you will see them pop again next year and you can vote again.


25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036


W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666