Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Summer camp, a world-wide phenomenon, is a common destination for children and teenagers during the summer months. Children who attend camp ("campers") participate in a variety of activities, many which wouldn't be possible or practical during the school year. Although the traditional image of summer camp is of a woodsy place with hiking, canoeing, and campfires, today's summer camps offer a wide variety of specialized activities. For example, there are camps for the performing arts, computers, children with special needs, and weight loss.
Summer camp is the continuation of a tradition that is over 140 years old. Frederick W. Gunn founded the first camp in 1861. Gunn and his wife Abigail operated a home school for boys in Washington, Connecticut, and took the school on a two-week hiking trip. The Gunns operated the Gunnery Camp for twelve more years.
In most camps, the adult supervisors are called counselors. Counselors are responsible for guiding the campers during activities and ensuring the safety of the campers. In many camps, counselors are assigned to smaller groups of campers, called "bunks," which participate in activities as a group. Counselors often share living accommodations with their bunk. Most counselors are in their late teens or early twenties, as it's an ideal job for high school or college students on summer break. Although counselor jobs don't usually pay well (oftentimes minimum wage or less), counselors receive free room and board.
Summer camp is also known as "sleepaway camp" (American usage) when campers spend their nights at camp. At some camps, all campers stay overnight, and at some camps ("day camps") the campers go home each night. Some other camps allow both day and overnight campers. Summer camp is often the first time that children spend an extended period of time away from home. Missing home is a frequent problem, but with a caring counselor most campers adjust fairly quickly.
- The American Camp Association accredits camps which adhere to a set of national standards.
- Other countries have their own camping associations that provide accreditation, instruction for staff members and a focused voice for the industry. For example the Canadian Camping Association
- Allen's Guide to Summer Camps provides a direcory of summer camps throughout the world with detailed descriptions and photos.
- Summer Day Camps online directory of day camps throughout Canada and the US.
- My Summer Camps directory of summer camps for kids, teens and youth
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