Every year, more than ten million Americans attend over 12,000 summer camps, resulting in over fifteen billion dollars in annual spending. There are programs that cater to any skill or activity that you can imagine. Here are four of the most common types of summer programs in the United States discussed by Helene Goldnadel.




Athletic summer camps are designed to help young athletes improve their skills in a specific sport. Most last one to two weeks, with participants going home in the afternoon to eat and sleep. However, some of the more expensive programs are overnight. These are often held on a college campus of some sort, allowing players to sleep in dormitories and eat in the cafeteria. Overnight programs will generally start at over $500 per participant and can cost up to many thousands of dollars. Some of the more popular camp sports are baseball, soccer, football, and basketball.




Artistic summer camps were created to allow young artists to practice their craft while interacting with other children who have similar interests. The majority of these programs are overnight, and many will run for several weeks in a row. Many activities that are not directly related to the program’s specific art will nonetheless be art themed. For painters, an example might be a hike that culminates in painting a landscape. For actors, this could be a game of very elaborate charades with rules specifically designed to help members hone their craft. Along with painting and acting, other popular art programs include music, dance, and debate.





Educational programs are designed for children who are interested in specific subjects. In some cases, they can help prepare students for upcoming standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT. In some educational camps, the students have strict schedules, akin to a rigorous day in school. Other types offer more non-traditional learning techniques. The most popular educational courses are technology, science, and language.





Traditional summer camps are not designed to teach participants any particular skill; instead, their overarching goal is entertaining the children. The majority of these organizations offer overnight stays for children, ranging from one to four weeks. Participants will generally stay in a barrack style building, with cots or bunk beds. Daily activities are often focused around the outdoors, such as swimming, hiking, boating, and outdoor education. Meals are generally served in a communal fashion. At night, it is common for the participants to gather around a bonfire to tell stories, perform skits, or play games.



In conclusion, no matter what interests your child, you can almost assuredly find an organization that caters to them. By attending, children not only learn about new things, but also are able to socialize outside of their normal circle. Many participants report forming lasting friendships with bunkmates. So if your child needs something to do this summer, look into the summer camps near you.

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