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Camp for Today's World

Camps stay on the cutting edge

Camp for Today's World
July 2013

What's something that is over 150 years old and kids think is just as "cool" as ever?

The Camp experience!

Year after year, camps evaluate their programming and adjust their activities, focus and other offerings to meet the ever-evolving needs of today's families.

Family camp

About half of ACA-accredited and affiliated camps now offer family camp programming. Family camp is a great way for parents to experience camp with their children. It can be considered a fun "vacation" option for families while simultaneously helping to grow the family bond and experience time away from electronics. Many camps also promote their family camp option to alumni as a way to come back!

New programming

Even in just the past two years, camps have added many new and exciting programs. The most popular new options are adventure camps/programs, nature/environmental education programs and gardening programs. Other new programs include college planning programs, health/wellness and fitness programs, service learning /community service programs and cooking with food from the camp's garden. Over half of ACA camps offer one or more academic activities, such as science, computers/technology, international culture, etc.

Today's needs

Today's kids spend an average of seven hours in front of a screen each day, and the percentage of overweight and obese kids and teens has more than doubled in the past thirty years because children are becoming more sedentary. But 80 percent of ACA camps report that kids are getting at least the CDC's recommended one hour of physical activity per day — and many exceed that! And with nearly three-quarters of ACA camps putting an embargo on personal electronic devices, kids at camp can spend their time connecting with nature and with each other!

All children and youth deserve to benefit from the camp experience, regardless of families' summer schedule or budget. That's why many camps now offer multiple sessions and varying session lengths. And 85 percent of ACA-accredited or affiliated camps offer discount options — the most popular being for early registration.

As times change, however, one thing stays the same. All kids need fun, developmentally appropriate learning experiences — and that is one thing on which the camp experience was founded. Camps are ready to meet the needs of today's families; they continue to be your partner in giving your children the very best!

With four decades of experience as a change agent in youth development and transformation, Peg L. Smith is the chief executive officer of the American Camp Association® (ACA). ACA is the champion of better tomorrows — providing resources, research, and support for developmentally appropriate camp experiences. Learn more at www,CampParents.org or www.ACAcamps.org.

Tags: Camp, In This Issue

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