Young girls at Happy Hollow Children's Camp, Nashville, Indiana.
American Camp Association PHOTO
Helpful hints for choosing the right camp
Camp is not just recreation and fun. It is more than teaching skills, such as archery or swimming. It is about understanding the beauty of discovery that can lead to emotional growth and maturation. It is the expansion of one's world, a sharpening of one's vision that invites the acquisition of lifelong lessons.
Camp professionals are not just teachers or counselors; they are coaches and mentors. They influence, advocate, shape, love and protect. And it is true, both young and old do learn lessons from the camp experience. However, those lessons come after experiences that are real, relevant and personal.
How parents select a camp should be based on intrinsic values rather than external facilities that a camp offers. Camp pioneer, Ruth Isserman is the former owner of Camp Chickagami, who at 97 still serves as a strong, vital supporter of the American Camp Association trade group and camp. She noted, "It is the development of a child as a person that is equally as important as academics." Further, "it's the richness of making their own entertainment" and the most important skills we contribute are listening and observing. "We are building better people for a better world," she stated, a shared vision with ACA,"enriching lives and changing the world."
"Who will care when I'm not there?" It's every parent's question when they leave their children in the hands of strangers.
The answer is the camp professional. They offer children the opportunity to explore, discover, and learn about the best things life has to offer. They are willing to laugh, talk and cry with children, creating an understanding of social bonding. These are the people who are willing to care when I am not there.
The camp experience is a win-win for everyone. Parents win because their children grow and learn. Children win because they have fun and collect lifelong friends and memories.