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Why summer camp?

Should kids really go to summer camp?


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There are many kids who love the idea of summer camp and feel no need to ask the question "why summer camp?" They might want to go to a camp because a friend or friends are planning to go, or they may want to attend a specific summer camp because it offers a program or specialization that strongly appeals to them. However, there may be some cases where kids - and even parents - ask the question "why go to summer camp?" Mothers or fathers might feel too strongly about extra summer time with their children while kids might simply want to stay home. We could tell you that summer camp is good for you or that kids today need the benefit of time in nature than ever before.

However, the words of the campers themselves might provide the best conviction that summer camp is a great idea.

The summer camp experience is often surprisingly good to kids. When 16 year old Heather first heard of debate camp she thought the idea was "incredibly geeky." But when she saw the brochure advertising the camp, she was impressed with the ground and the facilities. When she went " it was one of the best weeks I ever had." From new things learned to new friendships developed, Heather found that she loved the summer camp. Read Heather's whole story. Kids often find that the "why" of summer camp is terribly obvious once they are in camp and once they are done their time at summer camp.

Camp exposes kids to different cultures and ideas. One of the many growth opportunities afforded by summer camps is the friendships formed with and exposure to kids from outside of their immediate neighbourhood - maybe even outside of their country. Erica Chellew, director of Swallowdale Camp says kids there "get to meet and get to know kids from all over the world." As Julia, a a sixth year summer camper from Ottawa exclaims, "There were kids from all over: Mexico, Belize and Prague. I even learned a little Spanish...I just love coming here."

Fresh outside air! Susan, a mother who took her family to Camp Nominingue loved the fact that the camp had "no electricity in the tent, no video games, no cell phones... You spend a lot of time bonding." Zak, a 17 year old first time counsellor from Toronto admits he was "stressed out" when he was packing but when he was finally on his adventure camp trip "I just breathed really deep and it felt so good to taste that cool forest air, which is really incredible."

For many kids, it ends up that the hardest part of summer camp is saying goodbye to all their friends, to the counsellors and to the camp itself.

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