Summer is here, and with it a slew of day and overnight camps that are a great source of exercise and social interaction for teenagers and children alike. But choosing the right kind of camp from all the options can be difficult. Here are five types of training camps that provide health benefits for your kids that are well worth the cost of participation.
- Multi-Skill Camps
Traditional summer camps offer a variety of activities and allow children to learn useful skills. These camps are offered by the Boy and Girl Scouts as well as branches of the military. Many of these camps are run in long-established camp locations—you may even want to send your children to a summer camp you attended as a child. These summer camps may include the following activities:
- Basic first aid and wilderness training
- Water activities and water safety training
- Hiking, rock climbing, and repelling
- Weapons training, such as firearm safety, knife and hatchet throwing, and archery
- Social events like group skits and dances
These camps are more than a collection of summer activities: they are an opportunity for your child to establish lasting friendships and create memories that will last them a lifetime.
- Wellness Camps
If you are particularly concerned about your child’s health, consider sending them to a wellness camp this summer. Keep in mind that wellness camps are not so-called “fat camps,” which focus on forcing participants to lose as much weight as possible. Participants lose the weight, but may be unable to keep it off once the session has ended.
Wellness camps provide engaging physical activity, nutrition training, and behavioral classes. Wellness camps have a much higher long-term success rate than diet camps and weight-loss boot camps, and are a much better investment.
- Sports Camps
Serious athletes may want to consider a summer sports camp. These focused, professional camps can help your child improve his skills, no matter what level he plays at. Examples of these camps include:
- Swimming camps
- Catching and pitching camps
- Basketball camps
- Soccer camps
- Football camps
For multi-talented or undecided children, you may want to consider a cross-training, multi-sport camp. These camps can help your children develop their sports abilities in a way that they might not be able to through participation in a local or school league.
- Wilderness Survival Camps
Wilderness survival camps are offered by many of the same organizations that run traditional summer camps. The major difference is the level of required knowledge and involvement. Summer camps are fun and can offer the opportunity to learn valuable outdoor skills; survival camps offer a more intense learning experience. Survival camps may include:
- Fire training
- Water purification training
- Plant identification
- Low-tech camping
Survival camps are a great investment for kids and teenagers that camp and hike often—the skills taught could end up saving their lives.
- Camps Run by Field Professionals
A camp run by a professional in the field or a significant sponsor can open doors for your children and allow them to learn from the best. Many of these sponsored camps, particularly for sports like gymnastics and dancing, end their sessions with high-profile performances. These performances can provide invaluable future education and career opportunities for your child and even draw the attention of agents and coaches.
Depending on their interests, you may also want to consider sending your children to science, band, or computer camp. These camps may not do as much for their physical health, but they can help your kids hone their natural skills and discover new ones.
Not all summer camps are created equal. Be sure to talk to participants who have attended previous camp sessions and camp leadership before making your decision.