Extensive research has established that children can't begin to learn until their emotional needs are addressed — and camp is part of the solution. To make the benefits of camp more accessible to all, New Hampshire's program provides mental health training for summer camp counselors and $650 in equitable access to camp for every child in the state.
Martinsville, IN — (October 28, 2021) — In a move recognized by the American Camp Association (ACA) and the White House that will help more kids experience the mental health benefits of camp, the New Hampshire Department of Education and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association have successfully implemented two vital programs to support families and summer camps in New Hampshire through their Every Kid Goes to Camp program, which is funded by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund.
- For New Hampshire camps: free mental health training for camp counselors
- For New Hampshire families: up to $650 in camp enrollment
Tom Rosenberg, ACA's president and CEO, is eager to build on New Hampshire's success, stating that "Looking ahead to summer 2022, we must prioritize the mental health support our kids need — by providing resources for camps in all 50 states and prioritizing access to summer camps for all school-age children."
The state of New Hampshire launched this program in summer 2021 after recognizing the positive impact summer camp has on the urgent mental health needs of kids, the important role of summer camp as a family service, and the significant contributions of the summer camp industry on the state’s economy.
The American Camp Association’s Impact of Camp research has shown summer camp experiences support positive mental health outcomes, with former campers reporting that relationship skills, appreciation for others’ differences, emotional regulation, and responsibility were among the skills they developed at camp that they consider most important in their lives today. This emphasizes why camp can be such a strong partner for educators in addressing learning and emotional loss that has resulted from the pandemic. Additionally, programs like Every Kid Goes to Camp create greater accessibility, providing camp experiences to children from all economic backgrounds.
Providing schools, camps, and other organizations with resources and training to address kids' mental health needs will help support families and whole child health. Administrators, educators, and leaders in every state can build upon the work begun by the New Hampshire Department of Education to implement similar strategies toward the wellbeing of our communities. To learn more about the positive impact of camp, visit ACAcamps.org/Research.
About American Camp Association
The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization serving the more than 15,000 year-round and summer camps in the US who annually serve 26 million campers. ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults. ACA provides advocacy, evidence-based education, and professional development, and is the only independent national accrediting body for the organized camp experience. ACA Accreditation provides public evidence of a camp's voluntary commitment to the health, safety, risk management, and overall well-being of campers and staff. For more information, visit ACAcamps.org or call 800-428-2267.