Summer camp is an institution of childhood for me and many others. We have fond (or perhaps not so fond) memories of being dropped off at a strange place with kids we don’t know, sleeping on rough bunks and having a blast. But the choice comes down many times to theme-camps, many of which are religiously affiliated. Why not, when sending your child off to camp, have them learn about the environment they’re living in? Eco-themed camps a great way to acclimate and introduce your kids to earth-friendly living while getting them out into it. A hands-on adventure.
When looking for a good camp, your best bet is local. One camp I attended was a day camp about ten minutes from my home called Piney Run, where the program revolved around nature hikes and survival games interspersed with lessons about animal habitats and being respectful to the environment. We learned all the traditional songs and made sculptures out of trash collected around the park and learned about our impact on the nearby lake. Day camps are good for kids who aren’t quite ready to leave home just yet, but who like to get out there during the day.
But my favorite camp was a larger establishment called Hashawa, where I was in for a week-long adventure in which the hikes were longer and the councilors much more knowledgeable about the state of the camp ecology. Our lessons included collecting and analyzing tadpole and insect specimens from streams, finding butterfly meadows and observing bee pollination, night-hikes to hear owls, and a whole collection of other exciting and interesting activities that truly opened my eyes to the world around me.
In the long run, I must say both camps were impressible experiences, and appropriate for my age at the time. Without attending these camps I doubt I would be as passionate about the natural world as I am today. So how do you choose one that’s right for your child? Sites like ChoiceCamps.com have searches that help zone in on your region or camp preference.