The Experiential Classroom: Camp

Generations of America's children have attended camp. The iconic imagery of campfires, s 'mores, and tents has been part of the collective psyche for nearly 150 years. However, there is much more to a camp experience than songs, marshmallows, and mosquito repellant. Camp is a classroom — teaching life lessons through art, music, sports, and a host of other activities.

Camp as an extension of a traditional education is not a new or novel concept. Early pioneers in camp consisted largely of educators who recognized a need to continue learning throughout the summer in an environment that also allowed children to be children. In a 1928 Red Book Magazine editorial, camp advocate Frederick Guggenheimer states that, "The school and the camp are complementary to each other — the one begins where the other leaves off."

Today's camp experience is no less educational than the camp experiences of old. In fact, camp is comprised almost entirely of "teachable moments" — moments when children are actively engaged and using creativity and cognitive skills. Because of the "hands on" nature of camp, often even those children who struggle in traditional educational settings will excel.

Through a camp experience, generations of America's children have been receiving a life education — developing the skills needed to become secure, contributing, successful adults. Although the desks may be absent, nature becomes the classroom. Camp remains one of the most powerful learning environments and is a critical part of educating the whole child.

Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or to interview an ACA spokesperson for more information about the camp experience as a vital component in the education of the whole child. For customizable public service announcements or article reprints, visit our Media Center at

About ACA
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit