The Wonderful World of Summer Camps, Facts about The Great Summer Tradition
On our side of the Atlantic, American style summer camps seem only to be a reality in the world of the big screen. Peaceful days at the lakeside, making lifelong friends and learning life changing skills instantly spring to mind whenever the summer camp is mentioned in any part of the western world. What is it about this quintessentially American phenomenon which has given the Summer Camp such longevity with generations of families and earned it such a prominent place in our imaginings of an idyllic childhood?
THE FACTS ABOUT SUMMER CAMPS FOR KIDS
- According to the American Camp Association, America 10 million children attend camp annually. There are also approximately 12,000 summer camps in the USA.
- Summer camps originated in the Swiss Alps in 1876, when Pastor Bion set up holiday camps where children made tree-houses, kits, sang songs and had adventure games.
- The first summer camps appeared American in the early 1900s and many of the original camps are still in operation.
- Camps are between two to eight weeks long and include both sleep-away and day camps.
- In America the size of the summer camp industry is estimated at $11 billion per year, according to the NCA. The industry employs 1.2 million people.
- Who owns these camps? Family owned camps account for 70% of the total with 25% owned by non-profit groups like the Girl Scouts and the other 5% are owned by private companies.
SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST UNUSUAL AND EXCITING SUMMER CAMPS FOR CHILDREN
Not all summer camps are set in log cabins deep in the woods. Most children have a strong preference for the kinds of activities they do and don’t enjoy, as a result a wonderful of variety of exciting summer camps (both in and out of the wilderness) have sprung up to help children develop their favourite hobbies.
- Rockin’ C Ranch (Texas) – a real working ranch, campers learn to appreciate and love their surroundings while engaging in physical activity. Unique activities include cattle driving, woodworking and egg collecting.
- New York Film Academy (worldwide) – With the Film Academy Camps teens can learn about filmmaking, animation, acting and more. The locations are worldwide, which means that camp can be anywhere from the Universal Studios back lot to locations in Paris.
- Spy Camp, International Spy Museum, Washington. Kids 10-13 years old spend one week learning to crack codes, going on spy missions, attending secret briefings, and having adventures around the museum.
- Circus Arts Camp, New York. Children from age 7 and up learn how to juggle, unicycle and fly on a trapeze.
- Hollywood stunt camp, California. Kids learn how to choreograph their own stunt show.
SUMMER CAMPS FOR CHILDREN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Unlike America, summer camps are not a mainstay of childhood in the UK, but their popularity has been rising over the last 40 years. The British Activity Holiday Association is the first place to look if your family is interested in trying a broad range of summer activities from adventure to social.
Camp Beaumont was established 30 years ago and is one of the UK’s main summer camps for children. Kids aged 7-17 can master horse riding, zorbing, glee club and even make-up lessons! According to Camp Beaumont, summer camps are becoming more popular in the UK, because parents want their child’s confidence to grow, to make new friends and gain independence away from home.
Oxford Summer Academy
The Oxford Summer Academy is a program for 16-19 year olds who want a taste of life at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Activities range from tutorials to electives and are designed to broaden students’ understanding of what they’ll be studying and how to excel in their chosen fields.
The Creative Technologies Powerhouse
This camp offers an impressive variety of summer courses – from arts, theatre, cookery and sports. The course even covers modern technology, with iPhone app design and computer game design.
WHAT TO TAKE TO SUMMER CAMP
TREEHOUSE TRIP TO BE WON
Win the opportunity to experience your own family adventure at a luxury treehouse, courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith. One lucky winner will win this weekend break for the whole family as well as a £500 shopping spree for the kids at AlexandAlexa! Choose from over 250 premium brands across fashion, sportswear, décor, plus an extensive range of toys to keep them occupied.
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