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Why Kids Say They Love Camp


Why does your child love camp?
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Many kids find that their summer camp experience lasts long after they trade their swimsuits for schoolbooks. Just ask Dana,  age 9, of Warminster, PA, who has attended Elbow Lane Day Camp in nearby Warrington since age 4. “This camp means everything to me,” she wrote to camp director Bob Lester. “Sometimes school is ruff and I get sad. At camp everyone accepts me for who I am. I wait all year for camp.”

To find out what camp really means to kids, you only have to ask.

 The Best of Times

“The best week of my life,” says Johnny, 11, from Philadelphia about Dragonfly Forest, a West Chester, PA, residential camp for children with autism and other needs. “I love this place. It’s where I can get away from the everyday hassle!” adds Nick, 12, of Elverson, PA..

Joshua L., 9, from Langhorne, PA attends Kirkwood, a residential Christian camp in Stroudsburg, PA. He says, “My best friends are here at camp, and when I leave I start counting the days till I can return.” Aden Q., age 7, from Philadelphia writes, “I want summer to last all year long so I can stay at camp!”

Letter from an Elbow Lake Day Camper“Can’t we add another day to the week so I can stay longer?” asks Missy D., 14, of Forest Grove, PA, another Kirkwood camper.

New Challenges

Traditional camp programs typically offer a wide range of pursuits, from the familiar to activities like zip-lining that are unavailable at home. At camp, kids may feel more free to try something new. 

Joe Canino, a Dragonfly Forest counselor, says, “I remember when my camper pushed through his fear on the high ropes. It was amazing seeing him go from utter terror to sheer enjoyment. Afterwards he wanted to go on everything. It made me feel great watching him adapt.”

At Camp America, a day camp in Chalfont, PA, Matthew, 9, of Ambler, PA, says, “My favorite thing at camp is the rock wall. I can finally go all the way to the top!”

Increased Confidence

“Camp gave our daughter a nurturing place to increase her confidence in athletics, arts, and just generally as a child,” says Robin Kelley of Villanova, PA, whose daughter, 9, attended Camp Green Lane in the Poconos.

“A lot of the reason Emma was able to get up on stage and participate in a talent show at her elementary school was because of her experience at Grier last summer,” says Karen Ditko of Morris Plains, NJ, whose daughter, age 11, attends Grier Summer, an overnight camp for girls in Tyrone, PA.

Why Kids Say They
Love Their Camps

“One of my favorite things to do at camp is science experiments. I love making goo and edible play dough!”– Shayna, 11, Summer Fun Club at Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware

“I enjoy playing dress-up and having tea parties. I am a princess!” – Grace S., 4, Danceworks Princess Camp

“It’s fun to hang out with my friends and meet new ones. I’m excited to come back each summer.” – Javayon, 8, Delaware Tech Summer Camp

“I really liked the barbecue and ice cream day. It was cool!” – Matthew, 7, Summer at Tower Hill

“The teachers come up with interesting ideas and we get to have big imaginations.”– Ben, 7, Delaware Arts Conservatory Summer Stage

“The ‘Renaissance Fair’ was the best! We made our own Sir Knight.”  – Vinnie, 5, Children’s House Montessori School

“I love going to the farm whenever I want and swimming EVERY day!” – Sophie, 7, The New School
Summer Revels

“I love the art and music that we do every day but the water play is the best!” – Luke, 8, The Little School at Kids Cottage Summer Camp

“Singing, acting, improvisation... it’s a blast! You get to work with
professional actresses, too!” – Sydney, 10, West Chester Studio for the Performing Arts.

“After camp my daughter was more outgoing and eager to do more activities without letting her disability hold her back,” writes Michelle, a Dragonfly Forest parent from Penns Grove, NJ.

Marie W. of Ambler, adds, “Dragonfly Forest was a life-changing experience for my daughter. It made her want to help out more both at home and at camp. It makes her feel good knowing that there are other kids just like her.”

Making Friends

“You can make lots of friends at camp,” says Griffin, 7, of Phoenixville, PA, a Dragonfly Forest camper.

Matthew, now 7, will attend Kay’s Kamp, a camp for kids with cancer, in Middletown, DE, for the third time this summer. “He adores his counselors and everyone at camp,” says his mother, Cheryl. “He can be normal there and no one makes fun of anyone.”

Of his summer at Compass USA International ESL Summer Camp, held at the School at Church Farm in Exton, PA, 13-year old David from Zaragoza, Spain, says, “The counselors were great and really connected with the kids. We had so much fun with them.”

“Kay’s Kamp is good for kids with cancer, because we can’t always do what regular kids do at other camp,” says Kara Kelly, 9, of Wilmington, DE. “

Kira, a 12-year old Camp America camper from Souderton, PA, has only this to say: “Camp is my life. The moment camp ends, I can’t wait ’til next summer!”

Ellen Warren writes for the American Camp Association Keystone  regional office serving Pennsylvania and Delaware. Learn more at www.acacamps.org/keystone and www.campparents.org.

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