Camp — a Practical Solution to the Education Debate

In light of recent education debates — where one side argues that summer is a rite of passage for children, and the other side argues that extended school breaks interfere with learning time — the American Camp Association® (ACA) reminds families that a solution has been available to families for 150 years, combining the best parts of summer with real educational opportunities. The solution is camp.

Camp allows children to relax and just be kids. They can run, play, and get dirty. They develop friendships, have adventures, and sit in the grass and look at stars and fireflies. At the same time, they are learning hands-on lessons in math, writing, problem-solving, teamwork, and independence.

Camps do an excellent job of adapting to meet the needs of today’s families. And many camps recognize that today’s families need an extension of a traditional education. Camps often fill in the blanks left by declining school budgets, providing art and music programming. Or camp is used as an opportunity to focus on or develop new skills, such as language camps, sports camps, or computer camps.

More and more, camps are implementing intentional programs to directly address summer learning issues. Take for example Explore 30, a new ACA initiative, in which campers participate in 30 minutes of reading activity per day while at camp. To date, 217 camps are participating — that’s over 360,000 campers from 36 states! With partners like Sesame Workshop, Hatchette, Penguin Young Readers, Candlewick, and Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins) providing free reading resources to program participants, campers have an expanding library of options to choose from.

Whether it is an intentional reading program like Explore 30 or activities like ceramics and theater, camp is the natural extension of traditional education. Combining the best of school and summer, a positive camp experience is the solution that satisfies both sides of the education debate — allowing kids to be kids, and teaching valuable twenty-first century life lessons in a classroom without walls.

For more information on the life-changing experience of camp, or to use ACA’s Find a Camp database to find the perfect camp experience for your child, visit In addition, for information and reasearch studies on the value of the camp experience in the year-round education of children, read our Position Paper on Year-Round Education.  And finally, families can follow ACA on Facebook and Twitter for helpful hints and camp information.

Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or to interview an ACA spokesperson or for more information about camp as a natural extension of traditional education. 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