The Decision to Return to Summer Camp

Deciding to return to summer camp is a big decision that many families are already making. Sure, it’s difficult to think about summer camp when the temperatures begin to plunge and the holidays are just around the corner. However, it’s actually the perfect time to decide about returning to camp. The camp season is far enough removed that campers have had time to reflect on their summer. Parents, also, likely have adequate feedback by now to be able to evaluate the value of sleepaway camp as registrations begin opening to returning campers and, in fact, at some camps, registration is almost complete. Beyond memories and adventures, there are many factors to consider, particularly as campers get older and new options begin to present themselves. Here are some to think about:

Each summer is a new and unique experience highlighted by changes from year to year: the introduction of new activities as well as the tweaking of existing ones, fresh staff faces, new facilities or remodeled ones to accommodate new programs or expand popular ones. Camp is truly never the exact same experience twice!

Aside from the physical changes to the camp program, campus, and staff, as children journey through their camp years, they look forward to age-specific traditions each year. Some of them are relatively small, such as sitting at a special place during meals or a later wake-up in the mornings. Others are fairly monumental–the trips get bigger and longer, the leadership roles become more significant, and the impact of the traditions themselves grows.

Bonds strengthen over time. It’s always touching to hear returning campers talk about meeting their best friend at camp or share stories about their favorite counselors. There is the intimacy of the bunk or cabin environment as well. As children move through camp with their friends, they become very close. Fresh opportunities also present themselves each summer for campers to make new friends while trying different things.

When one considers how much change happens at camp each summer, it’s easy to see that by not returning–even for a summer–campers miss out on something big! The primary goal of sleepaway camps is to make sure campers are safe and have fun. Their staffs work tirelessly during the winters and dedicate long hours during the summer to make each summer better than the last, which means that probably the most important thing to contemplate when deciding whether to return to camp is that next summer could be a camper’s best summer ever!

Thinking of Summer Camp in 2013?

It’s fall.  So who cares about summer camp, right?   Tell that to the thousands of summer campers and staff members who have quite literally already started the countdown to next summer.  We’re talking smart phone apps tracking time down to the second.  Perhaps this is the perfect reason why you should begin thinking seriously about summer camp next year if you haven’t already done so.

If your children have already heard about camp from their friends, then the idea has been planted.  Now is the perfect time to talk to your children to see if summer camp might be the right option for your children next summer.  Sure, it’s only fall now but…the holidays are around the corner.  We all know what those months are like.  It’s October, you’re wondering how many bags of Halloween candy you should buy for the trick-or-treaters.  Then you blink and it’s New Year’s Eve.

If you’re new to camp, you might be surprised to learn that many camps have already opened enrollment for next year.  Crazy, right?  It’s not lareally so crazy when you stop to consider that Camp Laurel operates at capacity enrollment every season.  Many of those campers, particularly those who are of junior high and high school age, are returning campers.  Siblings of existing campers are often given first priority in early registration.  After those spots are filled, any remaining spots, typically fewer than for which there is demand, are made available to new campers.

Not surprisingly, extremely popular premiere level camps , like Camp Laurel, are popular for a reason, and one of those reasons is that we take great pride in the balance of personalities we assemble every summer.  This means that enrolling might not be as simple as filling out an application and submitting an application fee.  We like to meet you in order to make sure that you’re right for our camp and that our camp is right for you.  And why wouldn’t you want to meet us, too?  After all, this is where you’re thinking of sending your children to live for all or a portion of the summer.  You’re basically searching for a summer family for them.  It’s one thing to look at a brochure and think, ‘Oh, that’s pretty!  And it looks fun!’ But sometimes it’s another thing entirely to meet the people who will be caring for your children as well as the children with whom they will be living and participating in activities.

So, yes, even though a new school year is just barely underway, now is a great time to start thinking of summer camp.   Get your child’s thoughts.  Sit down and make a list of your own expectations for a summer camp.  Then, start doing research.  Get on the internet and start checking camp websites, Facebook pages, etc.  These days, a camp’s online community can speak volumes.  If campers and staff members are still thinking of and missing camp in the midst of that holiday rush that we all blink and miss, then chances are you’ve found a winner!