More and more these days, families have seemingly countless opportunities and commitments each summer. Academic camps, sports preseasons, family trips - so many things that on the surface might seem more important than “just” going to summer camp. After all, wouldn’t an academic camp better prepare a child for their next year in school? Wouldn’t a family trip provide kids with irreplaceable memories with their family?

Both of these things are likely true, and valuable. But they do not have to come at the cost of summer camp, and we believe they should not, considering the specific growth and learning that can happen more at summer camp than almost anywhere else. Including academic camps, sports preseasons, or family trips.

For example, there is growing evidence to support the conjecture that overnight summer camp increases a child’s ability to thrive when they leave home to go to college. While there has been no large-scale study that we are yet aware of, many writers, college administrators, and parents are beginning to believe that previous camp experience offers an advantage to students when they arrive at college.



CNBC ran a story about how summer camp may improve college admission odds. This was a fun story for us, because while Camp Champions has long contended that camp helps build the skills that allow students to thrive once they get to college, we didn’t know exactly what to make of camp’s role in college admissions.

On one hand, we know that camp helps build many of the skills that a great college applicant has to have. We have heard many stories from families about camp being the influence that helped a student gain the independence and confidence necessary to put together a strong college application. We have even had campers who used camp as a motivation to make the grades that reflected their best effort. And of course, many graduates of our High School Leadership Program have used experiences at camp as topics for their application essays.

One the other hand, we have never known for sure whether college admissions departments fully understood the skills that former campers bring to their universities. We knew the impact that years of camp could have on a college application (and that student’s ability to thrive in college), but did the colleges?

Fortunately, we are starting to find that colleges are recognizing camp as a valuable growth experience.

CNBC’s story begins:

“How you spend your summer vacation isn’t just fodder for first-day-back-in-school essays. It could provide a boost on college or job applications—especially if you went to camp.”

The story goes on to explain that not only can camp be an excellent way to spend a summer in the eyes of an admissions committee, a long tenure at one camp may be even more valuable. This shows a college applicant’s previous ability to grow within a community and develop relationships over a period of years—exactly what they will be expected to do as part of their university community.

The story also says that growing up at a camp and then working as a counselor can be seen as extremely valuable because that experience is evidence of both resilience and leadership skills.

Finally, the story echoes what Camp Champions has said for years: camp is a perfect place to build the skills that allow students to excel once they arrive in college. There is little substitute for previous experience of having to be independent and integrate into a new social environment.

Here’s the article so you can check it out:

So, when planning your summer this year, know that we are not at all saying “Give up that family trip, that summer school, that sports team.” Those are all great ways to spend a summer. But remember too that overnight summer camp, for just two or three weeks out of the eight or more of summer, can provide truly unique skill development and independent growth opportunities that will set a child up for success throughout life. Family trips or summer school might not have the same impact. It’s worth carving out the time in a busy schedule.

Here’s where you can read about exactly which vital skills summer camp develops so well: 

And read here to hear more information like this. The news just keeps getting better and better for summer camps: Are Summer Campers More Likely To Succeed In College?