Parents, summer is finally here! What are your kids doing to pass the time? If you said “going to camp,” then you know your child’s summer will be filled with adventure, forming new friendships, learning life-long skills, and having fun in the sun!
Summer camp offerings have changed drastically over the years. It used to be overnight camp, bunking in old cabins in the woods. Now, the options have expanded greatly to fit everyone’s schedules, interests and abilities. Summer camp provides a unique opportunity for youth to engage in physical, social and educational experiences. Camp fosters achievement, relationships and belonging that nurtures the potential of every child and teen involved.
- Discovering skills (achievement) – Campers experience achievement when they try different activities, learn what they like and discover what they are good at.
- Building friendships (relationships) – Campers have the opportunity to form healthy relationships with other children, caring adults, and role models, which helps them feel good about themselves and learn to get along with others.
- Finding a place to belong (belonging) – Campers connect through special camp traditions in a safe and fun atmosphere with others who believe in the importance character values so they feel included, accepted and part of a community.
In the Fox Cities, parents have a variety of camps from which to choose. Understanding what will best fit your family, your schedule and your needs is important to choosing the right camp for your child.
Overnight camp can run from a short 2-night stay, to a two-week teen leadership adventure. With a variety of themes and activities to choose from, you won’t have a problem finding an experience your child will enjoy. Danielle Polzin, YMCA Camp Nan A Bo Sho director explains, “Our programs have an intentional progression to ensure that no matter where your child is in their camp experience, there will always be something new and challenging to try. With the support of our caring staff, no matter which program you chose, we know your child will have the time of their life!”
A child’s first time at overnight camp can be scary for both child and parent. For many children, this may be their first time away from mom or dad. Be sure to do your research and choose a camp that has staff trained and dedicated to making your child’s camp experience the best one ever.
Day camp is the perfect option for parents that want to make sure their child is doing something and staying active during the summer. Day camp offers the wonderful benefits of overnight camp—new experiences, skill building, a sense of community and lasting friendships—while allowing campers to return home each afternoon.
If you are looking for a unique camp experience for your child, then finding a specialty camp is for you. Sports, arts, nature and teen camps are just a few examples of specialty camps designed with your child’s special interest in mind. If your child is wants to play sports all summer, then a sports camp is the right fit for you. Maybe you have a child interested in drama, art or all things nature… there is a camp for that too!
Special Abilities Camps
Youth with developmental disabilities, physical and mental health challenges or other impairments that may require special attention or benefit from like-situated campers have opportunities to enjoy camp as well. Johnny, a counselor at YMCA Camp Hope, a day camp for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities tells us that, “Camp is all about coming together and celebrating everyone’s differences in a way that’s fun.” Because at the end of the day, each individual’s camp experience should revolve around having fun!
If you haven’t already signed your child up for summer camp, don’t worry there is still time. Do your research to find the best camp to fit the needs of your family. Whether that’s overnight camp, day camp or specialty camp, you won’t regret your choice to give your child the best summer experience possible while ensuring they are working to become the best versions of themselves.
About the Writer
Tom Wendt is the YMCA Executive Program Director at the Appleton YMCA, and has 18 years of experience in programming management at Y. He received his bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from UW-Lacrosse. Tom is an active community volunteer in the Fox Cities where he resides with his wife and three children. For more information on summer camp, visit ymcafoxcities.org.