Youth Camps Can Be Fun and Provide an Education: How to Choose
It’ s because you care, you’re reading this article. Chances are you’ve explored the options and are getting close to sending your child or children to a residential camp. It doesn’t matter whether this is the first camp experience or whether you’re an old pro, it’s a near certainty a couple of things have crossed your mind.
First, there are a lot of camps. Second, many appear to offer the same program. Third, they’re not necessarily cheap. Finally, for the money spent, isn’t it fair that I expect a little enrichment?
You’re exactly correct in each thought. The volume of camps is overwhelming. They do cost a fair amount of money, there are similar programs and yes you should be able to have your child’s person positively impacted while away.
Most children want to go off to play, to have fun and so, it would be ideal to have them at a camp that addressed your want for a little education and the child be none-the-wiser for being at this type of camp: It can be done.
Obviously educational camps are college prep style and or camps that are located on university campuses offering summer course work. These are great in their own right but many kids don’t want to spend their summer camp in school.
What are you to do? Perform an internet query for camps that reference team building. Then pay attention to the activities they offer for team building. For instance, a whitewater rafting camp will tout the teamwork required to paddle a raft. An adventure camp may call attention to the supportive attitudes and positive environment required to scale a mountain or complete a ropes course.
Look for a camp that references activities that require people to engage one on one and in groups. Buzz words to look for: discussions, community, leadership, evening campfire, interconnectedness, etc. These are camps that have thought enough about the benefits of communication and improving these skills.
Look for a camp that speaks of experiential-education. This is not a new term, but one that’s gaining momentum. As our schools remove programs, college entrance becomes ever more competitive, school sports becomes more about winning and less about learning how to be a teammate, the need for education through experience, experiential education, is ever increasing. Camps that note this type of experience are cognizant of this need and are at minimum working towards providing this type of experience to the campers they host.
Here, an example of experiential education at work, viewed through the application of a rafting camp. In a camp requiring rafting, campers must learn how to prepare their gear each day, the must work together to get the gear in place, they must work to paddle in unison, they must work together in learning safety guidelines and what-to-do-when-scenarios, etc. Just the activity of rafting encompasses team, employing and exercising all the necessary skills you’d find in a boardroom or in real life scenarios.
If you’re exploring residential camps, you probably have the means to send your child. It’s natural and good parenting to want to get the most experience for your dollar spent. Your child’s life will be greatly enriched from their summer experiences.
While camp is meant to be fun, if you look for the buzz words we mention above, read the guidelines in the previous article linked here for reading between the lines to find the right program, you can have your child in an environment wherein they’re learning AND having fun. Both worlds are completely attainable, if you just put a little time in online. Hey, reading this article is an excellent first step. Happy camping!
For two decades, Action Whitewater has provided professional whitewater rafting trips: always a leader in youth trips. Adventure summer camps are the organic expansion of this focus as they work to create the best youth programs on the river. To see, video and photos of what you can expect at an adventure camp, visit our website.