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The Case for Summer Camp

After nearly a year and a half of classes on a computer screen, shaken-up in-person routines and postponed traditions, it’s clear students need to accomplish one major task this summer.

Have fun. Lots of fun.

As we enter our second summer of COVID-19, it may be tempting to fill your kids’ vacation time with tutoring or extra academics to make up lost ground or get ready for the coming school year. But students have worked hard this year under confusing and challenging circumstances. They deserve time to play, run, imagine, create, laugh, explore and discover.

That’s where summer camp can help.

The American Camp Association found that 90% of parents they surveyed planned in 2020 to send their children to summer camp but only 40% did. During that summer, parents said, their families attended fewer sporting events and in-person get-togethers, took fewer trips to museums, parks and zoos and reduced their family vacation time. What increased? Time spent in virtual hangouts, watching TV and playing video games.

Summer camp offers the chance for kids to break out of COVID-19 ruts, safely try different activities, re-establish social connections and enjoy relief from the stress of the past year.

Paddle around a lake, practice archery, write a song, build a sculpture, play Quidditch, train for a sport or cook a delicious meal. At CAMP IDS, parents can choose from more than 100 half- and full-day camps to customize a program that fits their needs and interests.

Campers can play around with different dance styles in a morning session and conduct science experiments in an afternoon session. They can choose chess for the morning and golf in the afternoon or balance a morning of 3D printing with an afternoon of tie-dying shirts, toasting marshmallows and racing in Red Rover.

Full-day camps, on the other hand, make planning simple for parents. Counselors handle the scheduling, setting up a week of field trips or other activities for older kids or a day filled with crafts, gym time, water games, free play and stories for prekindergarten.

Camp this summer can also allow students to resume activities their schools may have put on hold. A weeklong camp can be the perfect time to ease back into a sports or dance program or practice a musical instrument. Aspiring actors will return to the stage during two musical theatre camps at CAMP IDS. Students will spend two weeks rehearsing for “Shrek the Musical Jr.” or “Les Misérables School Edition” to perform live in front of audiences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that because of the challenges of the 2020-21 school year, the changes in home and school routine could affect students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

But with friendly counselors, campers who share similar interests and lots of outdoor activities to counterbalance an overload of screen time, summer camp in 2021 provides ample avenues for much-needed fun. Enrolling in summer camp can give kids new experiences to look forward to and help them find their spark again.

Originally published in April 2021

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