It's summer camp time and your child is excited about the adventure that awaits, however you can help them have a more successful time by having the below conversations. 

Talking About Camp
It's best to start talking about camp early on. This can be stories of your own experiences or of friends and relative. Maybe even a story book about camp. Be sure they are positive experiences, this is not time for Friday the 13th. Then I like to ask "If you were going to camp what activities would you like to do". This question can give you incite to what they are thinking.  Remember, your child may not be ready for overnight camp and that OK. It is important to realize that most campers go to overnight camp between 8-10 years of age. Often this seems young for parents but kids are generally ready if encouraged. It can get harder the older a child gets. A handful of overnight camps like Swift Nature Camp offer a Discovery Camp only for 1st time campers, where additional support is on hand to make the first time camp experience a success.  If your child is really reluctant you might try suggesting a friend or relative would enjoy the adventure as well and go to camp together. This go with a friend can often help a child agree with the whole camp idea.

Find a Camp
This can be fun to hit the internet and look at all the options available. For younger campers it is best to pick 3 or 5 that you feel would be best suited for you and your camper. One of th ebest ways is to talk to the camp director and ask for references. Then spend some time with your camper and go through the choices, looking at each of the activities and camp philosophies that are best for him or her. Remember, websites are meant to sell camp to kids. So it is your responsibility to look at all the parent things like safety, health and hiring, etc.

Nature Camp 24Sell Camp
Once your camp is selected be sure to talk about it often. Keep selling camp as a positive fun experience. All the friends and excitement. Some things to say include "Sure wish I could go". "Your so lucky". Help to build confidence by focusing on the qualities they have that will make the camp experience easy for them. Of course you don't want to overload future campers with too much information so as a parent pace yourself and bring it up 1 or 2 times a week at most.

We All Love Routines
"Summer amp is filled with routines, Days are scheduled much more than it looks from the outside world" says Jeff Lorenz, Director of Swift Nature Camp. It's best to become familiar with the camp routines and then build some of them in to your child's day. That way you will reduce camp trauma and make it easier to fit into camp life. This can include:  making beds, packing and cleaning up. Personal responsibility is important at camp as well, including: brushing your teeth and getting dressed. At home use meal time as a time to practice trying new foods and helping to cleaning up.

Lights Out
Often one of the hardest parts of camp is after a day of fun is over and we are tucked in our bed and the lights go out. This is when we start to think of home and all that we are missing. To help your child beforehand it is good that they have some experience with sleepovers at friends or relative. Try not to talk with them while they are gone. This is a time to build independence. Falling asleep strategies are important as well, like deep breathing or visualizing himself at a favorite place. Since camp at night can be dark and quiet be sure to help your child be prepared for such a experience. Often a camp flashlight can make campers feel more secure.

Living Communally
One of the biggest part of overnight summer camp is living with a group of people for a few weeks. It is this experience that is at the heart of camp. Most campers say they make better friends at camp than at school. Why because we live together sharing life. Relationships are the heart of every camp experience, Since camp is like a family it is good to revisit some of the ways we deal with people. They have the power to make everyone's experience at camp better by being a supportive member of the team. Prepare your child for a diverse cabin getting along with a wide variety of people is so important.  Help them to make new friends by asking about others' interests and being a good listener.  Friendships at camp often last a lifetime.

Summer camp involves fun & relationships all in the great outdoors. Help them to appreciate nature and the outside. All the cool things that are outside waiting to be discovered. Help them to also be aware how to be safe outside. This includes, Drinking water, using sunscreen, and bug spray.  Also ask what else they may be afraid of, this will help you ease those fears.Overnight summer camp

Homesickness is not an illness
Homesickness is not an illness it just means you are loved back home. So don't make your child feel as if this is a sickness it is a normal feeling. Let your child know they may experience it  by feeling lonely or even have a stomachache. Let them know staff are on hand to help so be sure to let them know, they will help and try to get them feeling better as quickly as possible. Jeff Lorenz says "Please parents do not tell your child that you will save them if they are homesick, this only sets them up for failure.  Instead highlight qualities they have that will help them stay the full session,"

Off to Camp
Be sure to pre write letters to your child. That way the first day they will have mail. Your mail should not tell them how lonely it is with out them or how bad you miss them. But instead say a few dull things about home then ask questions about food, friends activities and more. Hopefully you per-addressed some envelopes to ensure a response.

Talk and listen is so important in this time leading up to camp. What your child have to say about camp? What are the hopes and fears? What do they say to friends? If the questions or concerns linger have your camper call or email the directors to get an answer. Help your child realize they are not alone and millions of children every summer head off to overnight summer camp. Most have the time of their life and can not wait to return, we at Swift Nature Camp wish the best for you and your family. Parents we know this is not an easy decision, we have sent our child off to another summer camp and cried the day he left  and felt the wonderful experience filled with new friends , fun and opportunities of self-reliance on the day we picked him up. One last thing Summer camp is a reflection of life, it is not Disneyland. Remind yourself and child of this their will be good days and not so good days, but our goal is to have more good than bad.

If you would like more information about Finding the Best Overnight Summer Camp for your child please feel free to call us or email.
Happy Trails Lonnie & Jeff


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As a Director of an Overnight Summer Camp in Wisconsin for over 20 years, I have seen a change in how parents deal with their children. Obviously,  when I was a kid my parents spent alot less time worrying about me. Oh sure I was loved but I was given time to figure stuff out on my own even if that meant small failures or getting in trouble. But more importantly, I was given something we all want more of TIME. Yes, my parents did not schedule me in after school sports, tutoring or band. No, in my day I played with friends, watch an 1hour of TV per day (now they say the average kid is 8hrs on a screen) and figured out things to keep myself busy. Yet, with all this time on on my hands, something was bound to come out of my mouth "MOM, I'm Bored" and the her response was almost always the same "Go Outside". Today, parents hear the "I'm Bored" much less, because kids just pick up a screen and stay entertained for hours. I was speaking with a substitute teacher the other day and she said its so much easier now that 10 years ago.  I have almost no discipline issues because when students finish their online in class assignments they pull out their phone and keep engaged, causing less classroom flareups.
Research is showing this may be a bad thing, see below article. I am an Outdoors Summer Camp activist and for years said, WE ARE ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY! Only recently have others picked up on this and are telling us to put down our phones... And do what Mom said "Get Outside"!

Child psychologists insist that boredom is an enriching experience.

With the rise of screen time and “helicopter parenting”, i.e. hovering, we’ve seen a decline in the good-natured negligence that many of us were raised with during the 80’s and 90’s, which consisted of “go outside and play, now.” Parents nowadays feel pressured to turn their children into productive little performers, by filling their time with camps, sports, lessons and play dates. And while there are advantages too, say, learning to play the piano, researchers insist that the absence of planned activities is also an enriching experience. The best thing you can do for your kids this summer? Let them be bored.

“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” explains Lyn Fry, child psychologist, “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

For the same reason that mindfulness has spread like wildfire among the wellness community, children also need to learn strategies to contend with the fast-paced, virtually-ruled nature of modern society. We also know, as adults, that being stripped of our televisions, iPads, and obligations are bound to offer a refreshing perspective and force us to interact with our surroundings in a new and different way.

Certainly, it is tempting, and perhaps we have been conditioned to feel that being bored is a waste of time. Not so— idleness is integral to allow our imaginations to grow. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia told the BBC that boredom is crucial for humans to develop “internal stimulus,” which, in turn, cultivates true creativity.

“There’s no problem with being bored,” says Fry. “It’s not a sin, is it? I think children need to learn how to be bored in order to motivate themselves to get things done. Being bored is a way to make children self-reliant.” Another way this helps kids is by eliminating the cycle of seeking validation for every little thing they do. Throwing out expectations is a tool to help kids truly know themselves and their preferences, and become more individually confident.

This summer, take away the screens and let kids simply do their own thing, such as playing with their toys in their room or outside in the yard. Experts also encourage writing a list of activities with children, including basic past times such as riding a bike, playing cards, drawing with sidewalk chalk, painting or reading a book. When your children approach you complaining of being bored, remind them to refer to the list. They’ll thank you later.

True Activist / // email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Report a typo

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Enjoy a Summer Camp In the USA

Overnight Children's Camp arts & craftsNow is the time to Commit! You have heard about all the benefits Overnight Summer Camp can provide a child.  Still, it seems a strange concept to send your child away to Swift Nature Camp and in other people's care. Yet time and time again, parents see that their child returns home different (better) than before he or she left. How can this be? What is this Camp Magic?

As a parent, these are the questions that went through my head as I sent my child to a different overnight summer camp. Does sending my kid away mean I do not love them? Does it mean I am selfish? Does it mean I am a BAD parent?

Actually sending your child to Overnight summer camp means none of these things. Often parents need to hear again all the benefits of summer camp, here are a few:


9. Kids are active – These days a child's life is sedentary in school, online and inside. Every moment at camp is filled with motion, from play to learning or even walking to the bathroom.

8. Experience successes – Camp's main goal is to build kids up. So at SNC we find what kids can succeed and that helps them feel more confident.

7. Gain resiliency – Life is filled with setbacks. At camp setbacks can be handled in a positive way. For instance, a group may have a difficult canoe trip, yet together they persevered and made it. Knowing you can make it is an amazing lesson.

6. Unplug – Technology has taken over our life. No time in history have children been so connected to it. In the old days kids watched TV for 2-3 hours a day now a screen is watched 7-9 hrs a day. Get back to real connections.

5. Independent – This day and age kids are scheduled most of the day. Camp gives children the ability to make choices for themselves. A skill needed in life. Wrong decisions can be gently handled and right decisions applauded by peers and non parental units.

4. Play – In nature animals learn by play. We all love watching the wolf pups play, but they are really getting ready for life. Same is true with children, they learn by having unorganized free play. Something that was a staple in kids growing up in the past. Camp still provides this in a safe, child friendly atmosphere.

3. Social skills – Living in a communal setting, like camp, provides amazing opportunities for children to learn personal skills like, empathy, resolving disagreements, teamwork and healthy communication.

2. Enjoy nature – Kids lives have become an indoor life. Nature is missing and all the research shows this is having a negative effect on today's kids. Higher stress, obesity and insecurity. Nature supports healthy child development and enriches kid’s perception of the world.

1. Friendships–Swift Nature Camp has only one mission to help children be their best. We do this in a fun and supportive way. By building friendships with people that truly care. we help child make better friends. Campers will tell you their best friends are at camp. Why? When you live with people, you learn to accept them, you build tolerance and over time your difference become bonds.  The result is a summer family.


So as you are thinking about the adventure your child will be on this summer, don't rule out the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Swift Nature Camp.

Kids summer campEvery summer millions of children go to overnight summer camp. But Why? Oh sure, some parents just need day care. But the vast majority of parents that are thinking about sending their child to overnight summer camp, do not take this responsibility lightly. They do their research by: going to camp fairs, talking to friends, taking camp tours and chatting with references. Why do all this? Because when you select the right Overnight Summer Camp for your child, it will be a life changer and an experience they will want to repeat summer after summer. Maybe thats why children from all around the world come to USA Summer Camps


So how does summer camp change kids lives? Not every camp is the same, so I can only speak about our overnight summer camp. Swift Nature Camp is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We cater to children 6–15, with a leadership program for our 16 & 17 year old campers. Our small camp blends old-fashioned camp activities on land and water, with environmental and nature learning. Plus we have a camp zoo, where children who love animals can even adopt one while they are at camp.


Here are ways that children’s lives are changed because of camp:

1) Great Staff- When you get young people who are dedicated to kids full time, your child feels it. Camp counselors have boundless energy and enthusiasm- something parents often loose as they get older. It’s like having the best big sister or brother in the world who really cares about you. They want you to be your best. So children look up to these counselors and since they are role modeling positive values, your child will pick those up and bring them home.


2) Communal Living- Yes, your child will be living in a cabin with 5–8 other children of their own age, building new friendships and developing strong new social circles. For most children this is a new experience. When you live with others, you have to be a little less worried about yourself and be thinking more about others. That is part of the natural progression of kids from self to others. Camp pushes them a little further along this road.


3) Nature-This day and age we live our lives inside. There is a big beautiful world out there that children should learn about and they should not be afraid of. All of science is saying, humans need to be connected to their environment, enjoy the beauty of the simple things in life. That’s why at SNC, we often take our kids to the lake to quietly enjoy a sunset.


4) Independence- Today we have so many types of parents, and often we see loving parents that hold their children back, not intentionally. But, sometimes they just don’t see that kids need and want to get out on their own, make decisions on their own and try new things. A Nature Camp is a safe place to try things, make mistakes and move on. This is all part of growing up and camp is the safe and supervised place this takes place.


5) Play is an amazing tool. It helps children get exercise, loose weight and feel better. More important, Free Play can help children resolve conflict, problem solve and be creative. Daily, at camp have 1.5 hours dedicated to free play, where campers can do the activities they want to do. This is like the old days, when children could just go outside and play.


One thing we hear from parents every summer is “I wish I would have sent my child to Swift Nature Camp sooner” you see, childhood is a once-off thing. Too soon it’s over, and you can’t reclaim the years, but you can look back on incredible memories. That’s why summer camp is so important — it’s a fun, positive experience where children can simply be children and have the time of their lives. Overnight summer camp is a vital part of a child’s personal growth and development

It’s the small size and attention to detail that makes camp so successful at promote each child’s personal development. Sending your child to Swift Nature Camp is a gift, one your child will cherish for the rest of their life. Maybe that’s why 92% of our campers want to return each summer to this Wisconsin Summer Camp.

Best Camps 2104 copySo you have done all your homework, You have been planting the seeds with your new camper. You have talked about camp, done a sleepover and looked at websites. You have even taken an assessment of your child's needs and wants,  and you tried to match those with the proper summer camp. For instance our Nature Camp is the best for those kids who still like being outside and off the screen. So now you have picked the Right Camp- the mission meets yours and the dates work. Often, parents think all they have to do is now pay a deposit and they are off to camp. As an Overnight Summer Camp Director, I suggest you scour the website to answer the below questions or email to get the answers, ya might even do that crazy thing and pick up a phone and call. Not all camps are equal. A side note, as a camp director it is some what terrifying to me how few parents these days call to talk to a Camp Director. Most just see a few pretty picture and they are good to go. Not the best decision. Mu goal is not to scare you but, here are things to think about.

  • *What is the camper to counselor ratio for the majority of the day? How many staff total at camp? What are the ages of Counselors?

  • *How do they handle supervision of children, discipline issues? What is the discipline policy? When do they send a camper home?

  • *What age groups will be combined together? Do younger children mixed with older children? How are activities different for different ages?

  • *What is the schedule for the program, what will they be doing each day? What is planned or free choice? How much non-active time?

  • *What are the  qualifications of the Counselors? What about training. Do they have First Aid and CPR?

  • *Are staff  up-to-date on criminal background checks?

  • *What is the policy for handling injuries and illness?  Who is at camp to give care?

  • *Do the campers go swimming or near water? Do campers take swim proficiency tests? Are there a lifeguards on duty?

  • *What insurance does the program carry? Do they have liability insurance?

  • ,
  • These are all great things to think about. at Swift Nature Camp we have a Summer Camp Parent Answer Page that helps parents make a very informed decision. We believe we want you to have too much information so you KNOW you made the right decision.
  • Learning about summer campParents & Campers,
  • When selecting a summer camp it is import that you pick the right summer camp for you. Sure all camps have fancy summer camp websites, but often you may have particular questions you you want to ask in person, Summer Camp Opportunity Fairs (Camp Expos) offer just such an chance. Below is a list camp fairs we will be attending in Wisconsin and Illinois. . So f you want to learn more about camp come see us or if you are an alumni please stop by and say "HI". We are always happy to talk about camp.





Summer Recreation Open House, York Community High School, Elmhurst, IL, 6pm to 8pm




25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036


W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666