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Is this scene familiar? You are standing in the aisle at your local toy store trying to decide what would be the best gift. The problem is that your child has just about every toy in the store. Legos? Check. Trucks? Check. Electronic gadgets? Check, check, and check. This time, give the ultimate gift — camp.

A camp experience is unique and can have profound positive impacts on a young person’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. When you give a child a camp experience, you give them lifelong lessons and memories that help them navigate a successful future,” - Peg Smith, Past Chief Executive Officer of the American Camp Association®.

Here is further proof that camp is the ultimate gift:

  • Unlike toys, camp doesn’t break.  According to research from The Children’s Mutual, 41 % of toys and presents given during the December holidays are broken by March.
  • Camp boosts a child’s sense of self.  Families want their children to develop genuine confidence and an awareness of their place in the world.  These are things that can’t be bought or taught — they have to grow organically.  That is where camp comes in.
  • Camp develops twenty-first century life skills.  Participation in programs like camp develops essential twenty-first century life skills.  Where you may see a group of campers laughing and building a small rope bridge, the youth development professional sees problem-solving and teamwork skills being enhanced.
  • Camp is critical to a child’s education.  Camp is one of the oldest and finest community-based experiential education and development models in America.  The natural extension of traditional education, camp is a deliberate, expanded learning environment that provides an education like no other.
  • Camp is fun. Camp gives children and youth the opportunity to just relax, have fun, and be kids.  They will experience the joy of splashing through puddles and the wonder of sitting in a quiet meadow and looking at the stars.

By giving the special child in your life the gift of camp, you are giving them the ultimate gift — independence, self-confidence, friendships, and competencies. Camp never breaks; it never expires or gets moldy. There won’t be a newer version released mid-summer, rendering all previous versions obsolete.

The gift of camp is real — giving children and youth real experiences, real opportunities for genuine growth, and unlimited potential.