Historically, summer camps have been an American institution since the early 1900’s. In the early days camp was all about getting youngsters out of city life and enjoying the clean cool air of the country while learning camping skills. Today, summer camp has progressed from campfires to computer screens and from nature trails to rollerblade rinks. In fact, many of today’s camp programs take place in the heart of the city.
Even with all those changes, the essence of the purpose of summer camp remains unchanged. Children still need to use their summer break in a healthy, productive way. A good summer camp not only teaches skills but is equally concerned with a child’s growth and maturity. Using a fun and relaxed environment, a camp helps families by developing a child’s capacities for self confidence, self esteem, independence, leadership, mutual understanding and making friends. These life skills are the part of camp experience that last a lifetime.
The Camp Channel offers a large chest of tools to assist you in finding an excellent summer camp based upon your needs and preferences. In contrast to general search engines such as Google and Yahoo, the Camp Channel provides a number of different methods:
- You are able to conduct an all-inclusive full camp search – where you can check off all the activities, regional constraints, and other criteria you’d like in a summer program. This particular type of search is a great place to start to really get down to the nitty gritty.
- You can also browse for summer camps according to a category or type; whether it is all camps in a particular state, or a kids camp which offers a particular activity as a specialty such as basketball camps, football camps, baseball camps, drama camps, computer camps, weight loss camps, art camps, etc.
- Similar to the large search engines, you can also perform a keyword search to pull up a list of summer camp programs which are relevant to your search terms.
- If you already know the name of the camp you’re interested in, you can also search by camp name.
Sometimes it helps to use multiple methods or try a number of different searches because you may at first pull up too many or too few results and need to adjust your search criteria. For example, our full search has a “switch” allowing you to perform either a “wide search” or a “narrow search”. A narrow search will require that results contain ALL of the particular activities you’ve checked off, whereas a wide search will only require that at least one of your criteria be present in a listing.
Second, you may find a different type of search will provide you with a more appropriate list of results. Let’s say you’re searching for a summer day camp for your child. Typically, day camps must be located relatively close to where you live, typically no more than an hour drive (max). So, you may wish to select Browse: U.S. States and then seek out day camps in the city where you live.
OK, now you have a list of matching summer youth camps, what do you do from here?
At some point, you’ll start to want to dig a little deeper to find out more about any given summer program. The format of the search results LIST contains important, but minimal information, including: camp name, short description, location(s), whether it’s coed/all boys/all girls, and sometimes there are photos and a link to a map. However, if you click on the blue button titled “More Info”, you’ll then obtain the full record for a camp listing. On the full record page, you’ll find more information directly on the page as well as a series of buttons above the camp name which opens up small pop-up windows (be sure your web browser isn’t set to block pop-up windows): contact info, activities & features, and more descriptive information about camp (if applicable).
As far as contacting camps for more information: the vast majority of summer camp directors will be thrilled to hear from you as an interested parent or camper!
If you’re looking at a list of camps, be sure to click on the “More Info” button on the far right of each listing to see a camp’s full profile. From this point, there are basically three methods for you to make contact with a summer camp on the Camp Channel:
- Visit a camp’s website. Some, but not all camp listings offer a direct link to their website. While the Camp Channel’s listings try to provide consolidated and detailed basic information to allow you to search and sort through a large number of options, it’s often extremely beneficial to visit to a camp’s website which will give you a much better perspective regarding a particular summer camp program.
- Email a camp. At the bottom of each listing on the Camp Channel, you’ll find a short “Request For More Information” email form which will allow you to send off an email to a camp. By clicking on the link (below the submit button) titled “Create/Edit My Email Message”, you can create a standardized message (which you can adjust as needed) to efficiently send requests to many different camps.
- Call the camp directly. Be sure you’ve clicked the aqua blue button on the far right titled “More Info”, then look directly above the Camp Name (at the very top of the page) and you’ll find a button titled “Contact Information”. Click on this button to obtain telephone and mailing address information.
Many camps will have DVD’s or full color brochures to provide you with more information. You may also want to keep in mind that many overnight/sleepaway camps maintain a winter office which is different than their summer office. Depending upon what time of the year you attempt to contact (by telephone or U.S. Postal Service), you may want to be sure to try the appropriate office. There’s no one size rule fits all: directors may head up to camp for the summer as early as April and stay at camp as late as September. There are some camp offices which operate year round.