Family & Parenting

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Summer camp options abound

Summer camp is a beloved tradition in many families. Many parents of young children fondly recall spending their summers at summer camp, where they made lifelong friends and learned the finer points of roasting marshmallows and competing in three-legged sack races.

Parents looking for the right summer camp for their kids will soon discover there are various types of summer camps, each offering youngsters something different. The following are some of the summer camp options parents can expect to encounter as they search for the right camper for their kids.

Day camp
Day camps are not overnight camps, which means kids will return home each night rather than sleep over at camp. Day camps typically offer many of the activities people have come to associate with camps, including crafts, sports and even day-trips to experience local culture or attractions. Many day camps are co-ed, and counselors typically live within the community.

Faith-based camp
Faith-based camps offer many of the same activities as more traditional summer camps, but do so while simultaneously offering campers the opportunity to celebrate and further explore their religious beliefs. Some faith-based camps may focus heavily on religion, incorporating faith into daily camp activities, while others may be more subtle with regard to integrating religious beliefs and lessons into camp activities.

Sports camps
Some summer camps focus on a particular sport, catering to young athletes who want to further develop their athletic talents. Sports camps may feature guest lectures and lessons from notable local athletes and coaches, while some camps may provide instruction from current and/or former professional athletes. Some sports camps are overnight, while others are day camps.

Family camps
Family camps are opportunities for the whole family to enjoy the summer camp experience. Family camps typically tailor their activities around tasks families can complete together, with counselors providing assistance when it's needed. Family camps may be faith-based or secular, and families typically stay overnight, sleeping in facilities on the campsites or in lodging away from home.

Special needs camps
Parents of children with special needs can still send their kids to summer camp, as there are many camps that cater to such youngsters. Special needs camps may cater to campers who are blind, deaf, learning disabled, or mentally or physically disabled. Staff at special needs camps typically undergoes extensive training, which helps to calm some of the fears parents may have about leaving their special needs children at camp. Facilities at special needs camps are often built to accommodate the specific needs of campers.