Where They Are Now - Confirming the Important Work Camps Do

Several years ago, the editor-in-chief of this magazine asked me to write a piece describing the outcomes of underserved kids who had the advantage of attending summer camp. This article examines select alumni of three ACA-accredited camps serving traditionally under-represented camp populations to describe the accomplishments of these former campers and attempt to understand how their camp experiences influenced their outstanding outcomes.

Camp: At the Crossroads of America’s Past and Future

If you have listened to the news lately, you’ve heard that folks are upset. A recent Wall Street Journal poll suggests that upward of 70 percent of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction or feel that times are bad (Bendavid, 2011). And regardless of your politics, the numbers suggest that there are issues we must address — as a country and as people who can either rise or fall together.

Camps and Classrooms

Rustling footsteps blend with plumes of voices rising to the open sky where stars twinkle like city lights in distant worlds. And not far from the peaceful glow of fireflies and flashlights, summer's dreams take flight inside young heads laid to rest in tents and teepee, fields and forest.

Camp as Educator: Lessons Learned from History

By the time Charles W. Eliot, former president of Harvard University, reportedly claimed in 1922, “the organized summer camp is the most important step in education that America has given the world,” camping in America already had a long history of embracing the educational value of the camp experience (Sharman, 1938). Now, almost a century later, the camp experience is once again at the precipice of education reform, standing at the crosssection of experiential learning and institutional schools.

Summer School and Summer Camp

Having spent the better part of the last thirteen years in summer camps and school classrooms, I have observed the benefits of year-round learning, although not necessarily in the form of year-round school. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan put school vacations on notice with talk about "fighting the status quo," and calling summer "an inexplicable, counterproductive anachronism that takes youths out of an educational setting for two to three months every year" (Duncan 3/5/2009).

Back to the Future: Summer Camp and the New Economy

A few years back I conducted a study with kids who had gone to summer camp for at least six or seven years. I asked them to talk about their camp experiences, and from their stories identified convincing evidence that summer camp is an important place for kids to learn and grow.