February 17, 2014
“What is the best summer camp term length for my child?”
Every off season we get calls from parents asking about how long they should send their kids away to camp. Parents are looking for the ever elusive best summer camp term length.
Here at Camp Champions, we focus mostly on three week summer camp terms, although we also offer two week summer camp terms. Industry research shows that 95% of 2nd graders are ready to go away for three weeks of camp. And in fact a majority of our campers are three week campers. The difference in personal growth, relationships developed, activities explored and fun experienced at camp compounds in the second and third weeks of summer camp sessions.
Longer summer camp session of three to four weeks allow several benefits including the following:
Nine out of ten campers first experience an activity that becomes a life long hobby and passion. Longer summer camp terms give campers an opportunity to explore all of the 40+ activities that camps offer. They aren’t required to try everything, but campers are encouraged to take risks and reach outside their comfort zone.
The community at summer camp drives campers to be the best versions of themselves. It starts with the directors and leadership team and flows down to the campers. Complete buy in to camp culture including; welcoming every new camper, helping campers learn about traditions, and including them in activities, creates an environment that campers can feel at home and just be themselves.
Meeting 11 of your new best friends is the most exciting thing about arriving at your summer camp cabin. Very few children live with 11 brothers or sisters. But three weeks of technology free, outdoor, face-to-face interaction will facilitate some of your children’s best friendships. Multiple weeks at camp, you learn a lot about each other and campers find their lifelong friends come out of this environment where they share experiences around the clock for multiple weeks.
We like to see counselors as Counselor heroes. They are going to be the role models for your children and will positively influence them. Counselors are much closer in age to your children than parents, they are trained to be positive role models that coach and guide campers to being the best versions of themselves. After three weeks the bond created between the counselors and campers is quite heartfelt as both have grown from each other.
It is hard to do in less than three weeks what we achieve here at Camp Champions. Developing critical non-cognitive and social skills are an increasingly important part of the skills needed to succeed in this world. Confidence, collaboration, curiosity, zest for life, leadership, communication, these are all skills that are softly modeled, coached and acquired over a multiple week period. The technology free environment and the intentional community really help make these developments possible away from children’s normal environment over a longer summer camp term length.
The first week of camp is often spent getting adjusted to camp. For newer campers, the rhythm of the schedule, the different activities, the new friends, and technology free, natural setting can all be a bit jarring. That is normal and it takes kids time to get adjusted. During one or two week summer term lengths, campers will spend almost all or half their time at camp getting used to it. The magic of summer camp and the real growth can really start to happen as campers become acclimated and open their eyes and ears to all the growth opportunities.
Longer summer camp sessions really allow for the development of a tight knit community which campers feel deeply connected to and a sense of being a member and belonging. The gift of camp is created during those three weeks at camp, but once the membership is created, the stories told and the lessons learned, the community travels with campers forever. Camp is something they are proud to be a part of, something bigger than themselves and a place they want to share with everyone.
There are just a few of the benefits of a longer summer camp session, especially terms in the mid range of three to four weeks long. The relationships, growth experienced and participation in a greater community bring out the best in all of the campers. If you have any questions about ideal term lengths or the best summer camp session lengths for your family, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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