Help your kids be happy (summer) campers

Each day a new summer camp brochure arrives in my mailbox, perhaps in yours as well. My daughters have always enjoyed going to camps and I believe those camps have positively influenced my children.

Not only have my daughters explored and learned new things based on the theme of the camp, but participation has helped them to build positive character traits and develop social skills. They always came back with great stories to tell us and new friends to stay in touch with!

There are so many different options from which to choose … day camps and overnights, sports and art, adventure and academic. There is a camp for almost any area of interest. So how do you narrow your choices? We asked Becky Richeson from the Carlisle Arts Learning Center—or CALC—about her thoughts on summer camp and to explain the arts and adventure camp CALC and the Diakon Wilderness Center are jointly offering at our Diakon Wilderness Center near Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, this summer.

—Melissa Kindall, Office of Corporate Communications, Diakon

What is the value in summer camp?
Summer camps offer a chance for parents to select what opportunities they would like their children to have outside the traditional classroom setting. They can focus on a very specific or a very broad topic, they can offer children a chance to explore a topic deeply or the woods widely, and they can be a place to let a child’s imagination run wild! There is joy in choosing a summer camp for a child because you are opening the door of possibilities.

What should parents look for in a summer camp?
I answer this question as a mom. As a parent of two children who are quite different from each other, I think it is important to fully understand the dynamics of a camp. How many campers will be there? What activities will they be participating in? Who are the leaders/counselors? Do I feel it is a safe environment? Is it of interest to my child? Will it be fun? And very important to me, is there a balance of structured activities and time for my child to be able freely to explore, imagine, create, and enjoy the program (I don’t want to use the word “unstructured” because one can be very creative within the boundaries of an activity). I suggest looking for a summer camp that will give your children opportunities they do not have ordinarily, one through which they will learn about something or themselves and where they have a chance to use their imagination to play, explore, and create. It is summer after all, so camp should be fun!

What makes this art & adventure camp unique?
The art and adventure camp we are offering is unique in several ways. This summer camp combines two things that are usually mutually exclusive for kids: art and outdoor activities. Campers will hike, canoe, and do rock-climbing but while they are in the woods, they also will explore nature artistically. They will look at the environment from different perspectives—the process of physically moving through the trees on the trail and navigating a waterway, for example, and also how to capture and use elements of nature in their art.

Each of the three weeks will have a different art teacher so projects, techniques, and perspectives will be new each week and the outdoors, of course, is ever-changing. This is not a competitive camp—either with the ropes course or the art projects—each camper will bring different skills, experiences, and interests in specific areas to camp. The goal is for campers to experience new things, invigorate their imagination, build their confidence, and stretch their limits to learn just what they are capable of doing!

For dates and more information about art and adventure camp, please click here.