News & Resources

Explore our newly redesigned Music Camps section!

Explore our newly redesigned Music Camps section!

Listings for music camps have now been categorized according to: genre, instrument, ensemble, and other areas of interest (music theory, sight reading, improvisation, technique, live sound, recording).

Whether you’re interested in performing classical music, jamming in a rock band, playing in a jazz ensemble, participating in musical theater, or if you just really like to play an instrument or sing; search the Camp Channel’s directory of music camps by area of focus and location by browsing or using a filter to more effectively find and discover music programs that match your particular interests.

10 Questions To Ask When Taking a Summer Camp Tour

One of the best things you can do as you choose a camp is to schedule a tour. America’s best summer camps realize the value of these personal visits and will encourage you to see the camp and meet some of the staff.

I have conducted hundreds of camp tours for campers and families over the past 30 years. There are certain things I know the kids especially want to see and understand to relieve potential anxiety. I also know that parents have important things they want to know too. If you are a first time camp family (especially overnight camp where there are a lot of new things you haven’t even thought of yet) it can be hard to get all the information you want on a tour. So here are my Top Ten questions you should ask before, during, or after the camp tour. I absolutely recommend a camp tour before sending your child to a camp. Think ahead. If you are interested in a camp that is inaccessible part of the year because of snow or other weather conditions, you may need to take a tour the summer before you plan to enroll.

  1. Where will I sleep, shower, and go to the bathroom? These are the number one concerns of a young camper on a camp tour. Trust me, they are excited by the climbing wall and swimming pool but make sure you see the cabins and bathrooms. I have seen anxious campers melt with big smiles once they can climb on a bunk bed, make sure the bathroom is not smelly (or too far away) and realize there is a place to shower. A great follow up question if the camp has bunk beds (most do) is “how do you decide who sleeps on which bunk?” Some kids are very anxious about a top or bottom bunk and knowing how that will be assigned is comforting information.
  2. Where and what will I eat? Super important for kids to understand where the food comes from. They worry about this stuff but may lack the foresight to ask the question. So, ask it for them. After all, Moms and Dads want to know this stuff too.
  3. How do parents and campers communicate? Ask the Camp Director this question with your campers present and listening. As a parent it is very important that you support the camp communication policy. And, it is important for your child to understand that communication will probably be limited. It is also a great way to make it real for them that they will be handling this experience by themselves without calling or messaging you every 5 minutes.
  4. Where do your campers come from? There is no right answer to this question but it is an important one to ask. First, it gives you a very good idea that the Camp Director or person giving the tour has a handle on who they serve. It also allows you to focus in on the camp environment you want your child to be a part of. Do you want your camper to have camp friends that he/she/they can see throughout the year? In that case a camp with a strong local presence is important. Want to increase your child’s world view and understanding of other cultures? Campers and staff from around the world can provide awesome insight into life in other countries.
  5. Can you show us where a camper can go if they need help? I love it when people ask this question (and if they don’t I answer it anyway.) For many campers, Summer Camp is new and a bit intimidating despite all the fun and energy. So having a visual reference of the office, health center, or wherever they can go when they need guidance is very helpful. I notice that the kids I can remember meeting on a tour are much more comfortable walking into the office with questions. They know it’s okay to walk through that door because they have already done it.
  6. How does the weather today compare to a typical summer day. Many campers may not understand temperature as a number of degrees but can will certainly understand “Cooler, warmer, or about the same.” It is important that you and your camper prepare for the climate at camp and this question, asked on a tour, makes it easy to understand.
  7. Are you accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA?) There are two reasons to ask this question. 1) ACA is the only nationally recognized accreditation body for camps. So if a camp is ACA accredited they have chosen to pursue a very high level of standards for their camp programs. 2) This is a bit sneaky but asking this question sets you apart as a person that has really done the homework. The fact that you mention ACA will get the Camp Director’s attention. They may pay just a little bit more attention to your needs on the tour because they recognize you as a savvy customer.
  8. Do you have any materials we can take home? Many camps no longer mail a brochure home but rely on their websites to convey the feel and philosophy of their camp. But most camp offices are filled with swag! Your campers will feel special if they have a sticker, comic book, or giveaway item that isn’t widely available. You should get something special because you came for a tour, right?
  9. What’s one thing my camper should bring that’s not on the packing list? Every camp I have ever visited or gotten to know has a packing list. And, they all have this kind of secret menu of items that returning campers and staff know about but first time campers couldn’t possible know. At one camp I visited it was glow sticks (for night hikes) and at another it was laundry detergent to add to your own bag of dirty clothes on Wash day because the camp never seemed to use enough. Nobody was trying to keep these things secret from new kids but nobody thought to add them to the packing list. By the way, if you were to ask me that question on a tour I would say “Ping Pong balls!” We sell thousands of boring white ping pong balls in our store for a nickel each (Comes out of the kids camp store account.) So save your camp money and stand out from the crowd with orange or colored ping pong balls. You will also save your spot at the table when you don’t have to run to the store for a new ping pong ball. (Ping Pong is very popular at our camp. We have 6 tables!)
  10. Finally, one for Moms and Dads: Can we see your kitchen? Food is very important and seeing where it is made and served is a nice touch. But seeing how clean the kitchen is, how well organized and fresh smelling it is, tells you the camp pays attention to details. They didn’t just clean the areas you were about to see but they make sure the camp is safe and clean at all times.

So there we have it. Ten questions to ask on your camp tour. And, please make sure you do schedule a camp tour if you possibly can. It will make you and your camper feel much more prepared for the adventure ahead.

Andrew Townsend is the Director of Kennolyn Camps, based in Santa Cruz, CA. Kennolyn offers overnight camps in Santa Cruz and on Huntington Lake as well as Day Camp and Family Camp. Kennolyn has been a Bay Area favorite since 1946. Kennolyn is accredited by the American Camp Association. www.kennolyncamps.com 831 479 6714.

Directors: Reminder To Update Your Camp’s Listing

It is time to plan for the summer of 2020 and update your listing on the Camp Channel.

NEW (10/2/19):  .We’ve just released a new feature update to include six photos within your camp’s Basic or Full Hyperlink Listing; increasing the number of photos your camp is able to display (previously two);  allowing potential campers and families to better visualize and become aware of all of the fun and unique experiences offered at your camp!

Directors are encouraged to update your listing(s) with respect to any time sensitive information that might be different for next year such as dates, rates, and other programming changes. Click on the “Directors” button in order to submit any modifications. You are welcome to update your information as often as necessary.

Click here  in order to modify your listing. You are welcome to update your information as often as necessary.

For more information about why it is a good idea to create a comprehensive and organized plan to update as much information as possible about your camp or program which resides on the internet, please read the following article:

Camp Directors: Keeping Your Web Listings Current

If you are a prospective camper or parent seeking a summer camp for the summer of 2020 please keep in mind that many camps have yet to provide their updated information for next summer. It is always recommended that you contact a summer camp directly for the most up to date and accurate information.

Website Interface Improvements

Our interface has been recently updated to improve navigation; allowing visitors to more easily review search results as well as to retrieve information contained within the full listing profiles for individual summer camps.

On mobile devices: a fixed secondary navigational menu for listing results will now appear at the top of your device; allowing you to more easily process and filter results at any moment.

Likewise, on all camp listing profile pages (for all devices), a fixed secondary navigational menu will now appear at the top of your screen; allowing you to more easily view multi-media elements and read specific information displayed for any given camp listing.

New: Site-Wide SSL Security

We are pleased to announce the recent implementation of SSL security to the entirety of the campchannel.com domain, as well as its other more specialized directories located at:

https://www.VerySpecialCamps.com (Special Needs)

https://www.CampRentalChannel.com (Camp Rentals)

While the Camp Channel does not gather or retain sensitive information from visitors seeking a camp (such as credit card or social security data), we believe an encrypted and secure site-wide digital interface provides an increased level of security and trust for all website activity and engagement.

Online since 1995, the Camp Channel strives to maintain its position and reputation as a leader in camp search.

Newly Updated Camp Jobs Section

We are excited to welcome in the New Year with the release of an updated version of our Job Board: featuring improved navigational components and a more uniform format that is helpful to visitors using mobile devices who are searching for a summer camp job.

Information about a wide variety of camp staff positions is now more accessible with fewer clicks and scrolling; offering a more standardized and easily readable format to more readily evaluate information at a glance.

If you are seeking employment at a summer camp, we encourage you to stop by and take a look at many fun and rewarding camp job openings for the summer of 2018.

Group Rentals on CampRentalChannel.com

Are you searching for a facility to host a wedding, company outing, family reunion, or other large event? Many summer camps rent their facilities before and after their primary camp sessions to groups looking to host various events and functions. 

Our newly upgraded website – specifically dedicated to camp rentals – has recently received several feature enhancements to improve usability on both desktops and mobile devices.

If you are camp director and would like to list your group rental on CampRentalChannel.com, you are welcome to view our listing options and sign up by visiting:

http://www.camprentalchannel.com/directors/apply.shtml

National Parks & Summer Camps: Essential Sanctuaries in the Modern World

August 25, 2016 marked the National Park Service’s Centennial (100th) anniversary. Some might say the National Park system is our nation’s “best idea” – for a great number of reasons; some of the most poignant of which can not be easily translated into mere words as a substitute for one’s presence amidst the sublime natural surroundings National Parks afford to those who cross their often frail boundaries into the unique ancient landscapes and habitats contained therein.

A long range historical perspective might reveal how the establishment of the National Park Service represented an effort to not only preserve our natural treasures, but to establish a foundation and cooperative framework to afford what might be considered the equivalent of large scale “communal camp facilities” for generations to engage and establish connections in perpetuity — amidst a contemporary world which often bombards us with a constant stream of trivial information and unending artificial stimuli.

Just as National Parks provide a physical venue for people to come together and perhaps form unseen yet enduring bonds with untrammeled natural landscapes and wildlife, summer camps might be thought of in a similar light in so far as providing a “sanctuary” from some of the more obtrusive aspects of modern life which might affect young people’s ability to better engage in meaningful social interaction and relationships with other individuals at a formative age.

As the sprawl of modern life has enveloped much of our natural surroundings, perhaps so too have technological advancements encumbered relationships among people – young and old.  As a society and individuals, we’ve seemed to have generally drifted further and further into the individualized compartments of virtual worlds, electronic devices, and gadgetry; often at the expense of establishing and developing meaningful bonds with others – in real time, in person.

Summer camps offer a forum for kids to establish real life relationships with one another; many of whom are experiencing similar issues in navigating the complicated waters of modern life. A camp environment may facilitate more thoughtful conversation and interaction with others “in the moment” vs. the often caricatured reclusive behavior of reflexively retreating to one’s mobile device or gadget.

In a similar light as National Parks, some camps are able to provide a direct connection to our natural environment at various levels of immersion. Given the apparent decreasing scope of nature (with a capital “N”) from our collective consciousness, the value of such a portal is immense; even as a simple reminder to all of us regarding our essence as human beings and what ultimately sustains us as creatures who inhabit the Earth.

Summer camps come in all shapes and sizes with respect to:  locale, facilities, and programming emphasis.  Likewise, not all camps take place outdoors in a natural setting; however, even camps that utilize an indoor facility(s) still offer a meaningful venue to congregate and interact with others in a positive fashion.

It is difficult to refute how technology has improved the human condition – offering tremendous breakthroughs and conveniences on a number of fronts. However, without the adoption and nourishment of constructs pertaining to real life bonds and relationships to people and the natural environment, technological improvements will invariably not live up to their potential to help people to prosper;  instead, perhaps even serve to perpetuate and amplify disconnects between people and nature alike.

In addition to such commonalities, the National Park Service and summer camps also share the same general historical era with respect to some of their early implementations. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, had extended federal protection to an unprecedented amount of land and wildlife during his terms in office from 1901-1909; a combined effort including: five National Parks, eighteen National Monuments, and the beginning of the United States Forest Service – totaling nearly 250 million acres.  It was on the heels the Roosevelt administration the National Park Service formally sprang into existence in 1916.

During the same approximate time frame, the first traditional residential summer camps in the United States started to appear in the early part of the 20th Century, such as the following summer camps which are still in operation to date:

Awosting (1900)

YMCA Camp Mason (1900)

Frost Valley YMCA (1901)

Surprise Lake Camp (1902)

Camp Highlands for Boys (1904)

Pok-O-MacCready Camps (1905)

YMCA Camp Lakewood (1905)

Camp O-AT-KA (1906)

YMCA Camp Copneconic (1915)

Fairview Lake YMCA Camps (1915)

Keystone Camp (1916)

For well over 100 years, enrollment in summer camp programs has been strong and durable; helping to provide children growing up in the midst of unbelievable technological advancements to be afforded the essential tools for establishing and improving interpersonal dynamics at a young age — holding great promise that such can be imparted from one generation to the next in the years to come.

Likewise, National Parks have been a huge success – especially in recent times – with an ever increasing number of park visitors from year to year.  Even in spite of the potential detrimental impact to park infrastructure from high visitor usage, it is a heartening sign in a contemporary life filled with distractions to see our National Parks being “loved to death” – for it might very well represent the heartbeat of a society trying to maintain its way in quickly changing and fast paced world.

 

New Feature: Lightbox for Photos

A new tool has been recently installed to allow visitors to more effectively look at photos and other multi-media elements housed within camp listings and search results.

The lightbox photo interface is a more elegant system to display photos; helping to minimize viewer distraction by isolating the target image from other elements which may appear within the viewer’s display. �Upon clicking a smaller “thumbnail” photo, a larger full-sized version of the image is presented; overlayed & centered upon an opaque background — providing an optimal contrast to facilitate an improved focus of attention in regard to the photo content.

Viewing photos on a mobile device via lightbox is now more user friendly than our previous system – which had relied upon opening a new browser popup window to display multi-media.

Please note: it is necessary to have JavaScript activated within your web browser in order to engage and fully experience the lightbox interface and related effects.

Are you a director seeking to include photos within your listing on the Camp Channel? Visit our camper recruitment listing options page, or contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.

Improvements to Keyword Search

We are excited to announce the release of a new feature to our Keyword Search: the ability to filter & narrow search results according to location, camp type, and gender. This new feature is especially useful when trying to wade through a long list of results on a mobile device and generally improves efficiency for all platforms – including desktop computers.

Please keep in mind: in addition to our Keyword Search, the Camp Channel offers several different methods and search tools designed to locate and discover programs which match your particular criteria and interests:

Full Camp Search
Search or Browse by State
Browse by Specialty / Program Emphasis

At one end of the spectrum, our Full Camp Search offers the ability to define your search criteria with great detail and precision. Alternatively, you are also able to peruse the Camp Channel’s directory structure by browsing according to location or program emphasis. Likewise, within any given U.S. State or Canadian Province page, you are able to perform an in depth state/province specific search.

Located somewhere in the “middle” of the spectrum of search tools offered on campchannel.com, our Keyword Search allows you to enter keywords and phrases of your choice – resulting in matches when corresponding listings contain such language within their descriptive text. Likewise, the Keyword Search allows you to look up the particular name of any given camp (be sure to check corresponding box). Generally speaking, the Keyword Search is a versatile and free form method which works “outside of the box” of our defined directory structure and is just one of several tools to assist in your camp search efforts.