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Many summer camps, in particular residential & overnight camps, offer secondary camp programs which either take place just prior to the start of their main camp session(s) or immediately after it’s conclusion and allow for some form family participation. Early to mid June is typically the time slot for such pre-camp programs; however, the exact dates sessions can vary from camp to camp … so it really just depends on the particular schedule of any particular camp.
There are also camps which are dedicated to exclusively offering only “family camp” sessions which might afford a wider range of session opportunities … since they are not operating a kids camp during the heart of the summer. Geography might also play a factor in so far as family camp options which might be available during the course of the year. Generally speaking, family camps in the Western U.S. or areas with more moderate year round climates tend to offer more options throughout the calendar year vs. those camps which are snow bound in the winter … which are often entirely shut down until late spring.
Many family camps will offer three meals a day and provide some form of lodging; however, you might want to inquire upon the specifics of such in order to insure your family’s expectations are in line with what a family camp might offer. In the same light, activities and facilities can vary from camp to camp … so it’s important to find the right environment which is most suitable for your family’s vacation at camp.
On one end the spectrum, some family camps are based upon extensive programming which offers a variety of activities, instruction, and other events which might involve an expectation of a certain level of participation – either individually, or as a member of a group.
On the other end of the spectrum, some family camps are much less program oriented and more of a rental opportunity for a family to enjoy the environment and setting of a camp, while also being afforded the ability to make use of the available facilities on their own schedule as they see fit.
In addition to traditional family camps, there also exist programs to provide an opportunity for parents to accompany their child for a “mini session”. Some camps which are gender specific (i.e. “All Boys” or “All Girls”) might have Father/Son or Mother/Daughter sessions available. Such programs can be a great opportunity for a younger child to be introduced to life at a summer camp in a manner which provides the “safety” of a parent being present while also being exposed to living directly in a summer camp environment.
The lines are sometimes blurred between what might traditionally be referred to as a “Family Camp” (or post camp) and such introductory programs. However, more traditional family camps might be a bit less aligned with the actual core programming of the main summer camp sessions and geared more toward the inclusion of all family members – which may include very young children as well as older adults – who may have a varied set of interests and needs.
Please keep in mind that not all camps offer such programs and those which do provide such offerings can vary greatly among camps. Contacting the Camp Director is the best way to find out!