The camp around the corner: day camp

Photo courtesy American Camp Association
Day camps are an affordable way to give kids a camp experience close to home.

For 150 years, camp has been the natural extension of traditional education – an expanded learning environment that provides enrichment and a hands-on experiential education like no other. Experts agree that camp is essential to a child’s development, teaching life lessons such as leadership, teamwork, empathy, and problem-solving.

The most successful camp experiences occur when families and children work together to find a camp that best matches everyone’s needs. What about families who feel a sleep-away camp is not the right fit, but still want their child to experience all that camp has to offer? The answer may be right around the corner at a day camp. The American Camp Association reminds families that the benefits of day camp are extensive:

Camp close to home

Perhaps a child is too young for resident camp, or perhaps scheduling does not allow for extended time away from home. Regardless of the reason, day camp is an excellent alternative.

So much to do

Day camps offer a wide range of programming and activities, from sports to arts to science and education. Like resident camps, day camps offer team-building activities, leadership training, and wilderness programs.

Keep those neurons pumping

Research indicates that participation in intentional programs, like camp, helps reduce learning loss during summer months. Camp is the ultimate classroom, using experiences to teach problem-solving and skill-development.

Get those bodies moving

Camp provides children the opportunity to try new things and participate in human-powered activities. According to surveys by both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an American child is six times more likely to play a videogame on any given day than to ride a bike. According to research conducted by ACA, 63 percent of children who learn new activities at camp tend to continue engaging in these activities after they return home. This leads to continued physical exercise that lasts a lifetime.

Budget-friendly options

In certain circumstances, day care expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services and paid with a dependent care flexible spending account or pre-tax dollars. In addition, day camps may qualify for special tax incentives like child and dependent care tax credits.

Day camp is life-changing, providing growth and development through teachable moments, experiences, friendships, and most importantly, fun.

For more information about camp or tools for selecting a camp, visit www.acanewengland.org or contact the American Camp Association New England.

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