The Ultimate Birthday Gift: Summer Camp!

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Toys are fun for a few days, a week… maybe a month. Then, they’re often forgotten as kids move on to the next thing. But wouldn’t you rather give your child a gift that they talk about for months afterward? Probably even a year?

For your child(ren)’s birthday this year, try the best present ever: a week at summer camp.

I can promise you, it will change your child’s life in amazing ways.

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I worked as a counselor for multiple summers at a local YMCA camp. I still fondly look back at those summers as some of the best of my life. But for a kid? It’s more than just a great experience: it’s magic.

Imagine being a kid again, and the feeling you get after climbing to the top of the rock wall for the first time. Imagine how exciting it would be for your cabin to win a camp-wide game. Imagine singing at campfires and sleeping out under the stars with your friends. Imagine being a huge Harry Potter fan, being sorted into a house and playing Quidditch. All of this, and more, is possible at summer camp.

I watched as kids came to camp, nervous to leave home and say goodbye to their parents, shy around their new cabinmates. By the end of the week, those same kids were standing up on stage, leading a cheer in front of dozens of people.

One of my favorite campers and I, during Harry Potter week. She went on to be a counselor and is now doing amazing things in Washington, D.C.

Want your child to learn independence?

There’s no better place for them to do it. The counselors help guide campers to be adventurous and try new experiences. Campers are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones but aren’t pushed too hard. Every accomplishment is celebrated.

They’ll also make new friends.

I can remember a girl who was so homesick, she cried through dinner the first night. By the end of the week, she was sobbing as she said goodbye to her friends and counselors. She didn’t want to leave. Campers often exchange contact information at the end of the week. Some even coordinate with each other to return for the same session the following summer! 

Your child will also learn responsibility and respect.

He or she will meet people from different schools, cities or even states. They’ll learn to accept and embrace diversity. They’ll become better leaders and teammates.

Not sure your kid is ready for a week away from home?

Trust me, it’s harder on the parents than the kids! But if you’re still not sure, many places offer a combination of day camp and overnight camp. Some places are also doing family camp weekends. There are so many options. Got an adventurous kid? Try a survivor program. Got a kid who loves horses? Check out ranch camp. It will be a dream come true. 

Covid, of course, is a concern.

I still have many friends in the camping industry, and I can tell you, every facility I know of, went to amazing lengths to give kids a safe, but still magical, summer camp experience. I was blown away by how well staff and campers handled the changes.

Honestly, as much as I try to put it in words, it’s difficult to explain the positive, lasting impact camp will have on your child. But I promise you, it will be the best gift they’ve ever received.

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