Sure, there are practical reasons for attending summer camp. It keeps students’ brains busy once classes end, it provides working families with childcare options and it prevents the chorus of “I’m bored” that rings out during the long weeks of summer vacation.
As valid as those reasons are, they ignore the most important aspect of summer camp—it’s fun! Every day is different at camp, and the experience introduces children to new friends, great role models and undiscovered interests. Here are 5 less-obvious reasons to fit camp into your summer schedule.
- You can try something new in a low-pressure environment. Maybe your children have energy to spare but need direction. A sports camp such as basketball, lacrosse or even pickleball can let them try it for a week without requiring you to spend hundreds on uniforms and equipment. Or if they lean to the arts, they can take a piano class or enroll in painting or sculpture, giving you a better idea if they should enroll in private lessons in the future. At CAMP IDS, aspiring actors can see what it’s like to sing and dance in front of an audience in our Annie Kids camp. Those students will audition, rehearse and perform a musical in just a week! After that, they can decide if they want to commit to more shows or explore another hobby.
- We did all the work. Field trip camps at CAMP IDS are a parent’s dream. Everything is planned and paid for in advance, and all you have to do is drive them to camp on time in the morning. Your child returns at the end of the day exhausted and filled with memories they made with friends in some of the most fun spots throughout Tampa Bay.
- Kids build connections with great role models. Most of the counselors at CAMP IDS were campers once themselves. They remember their experiences and know how to relate to the kids, and they receive training before camp starts on how to be positive role models. The PreK3-8th grade students at camp love getting to know the “big kids” and spending time with them. Some of those campers have returned as high school and college students and designed their own camps to teach, such as MusiCode and Comic Book Mania.
- It’s a friendly introduction to school. A week or more at summer camp shows prekindergarten and rising kindergarten students what it’s like to attend school. They learn the structure of a school day, behavior basics and what teachers expect of them. For older kids who are changing schools, summer camp at their future school helps them get comfortable with the campus and maybe even make some friends before the first day.
- You can customize each week to your child’s interests and needs. When a camp offers half-day options, parents can mix and match two camps to form a full day. Pair a morning of canoeing with an academic camp in the afternoon or create combinations that suit your child such as archery and art. The ability to design your own summer is one of the aspects of CAMP IDS that Christina Petrulli, camp co-director, likes the most. “I’ve always loved how my kids can choose an outdoor sports camp in the morning when the weather is cooler and then go to something fun and totally different like a VR or photography camp in the afternoon when they would prefer to be indoors,” she says.
More than anything, a summer at camp provides students with a positive, caring community from the counselors to the campers. Jen Haas, CAMP IDS co-director and mom of twins, loves seeing the friendships that develop, whether a student spends a week at camp or all summer. Says Haas: “My favorite part about CAMP IDS is watching my kids enjoy all of our alumni counselor assistants and making lifelong summer friends year after year at camp.”
*Presented by Corbett Preparatory School of IDS | Originally published in March 2023 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.