Off to Summer Camp We Go!

By Giggle Magazine
Kids outside at summer camp with little girl holding magnifying glass up to her eye

According to the American Camp Association, summer camps have come a long way since the inception of the first American organized camp, the Gunnery Camp of 1861. At the time, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic W. Gunn owned a home school for boys and, in the summer of 1861, they took the students on a two week excursion, full of hiking, fishing and “trapping.” The Gunnery “summer camp” experience lasted for 12 years.

Today, parents can find summer camps to fit about any special interests their child might have. There is football camp, band camp, computer camp, space camp, tennis camp, science camp, and even whale camp. There are day camps, sleep-away camps and weekly camps. The options for parents today can be overwhelming.

Download our 2024 Summer Camp Guide to see the options for this summer!

Before Choosing a Camp

Before choosing a setting that is right for your child, you should determine whether your child is ready for camp. The American Camp Association suggests answering these determine your child’s “camp readiness” status:

1. What is your child’s age?
2. How did your child become interested in camp? 3. Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home?
4. What does your child expect to do at camp?
5. Are you able to share consistent and positive messages about camp?

Once you have answered these questions and feel as though your future camper is ready, choosing the right camp for them is the next step. With so many choices out there, there is something for every future camper.

How do you choose which camp is right for you and your little camper? Start off by recognizing what it is you and your child need to take away from the summer camp experience. As a parent, do you need them to be at camp for just a few weeks of the summer or do you need more of an every day camp? Does your child have a special interest, like music, that they want to dedicate their summer- time to exploring? Is cost a factor? Do you want them to experience the same camping experience you did when you went to sleep-away camp? Again, it is important that whatever camp you do choose, you and your child will walk away from the experience happy and with wonderful memories.


Another important factor when choosing a summer camp is to make sure, like you do with a day care or school, that all the proper safety guidelines and procedures are being followed to a “T.” All counselors and staff should be trained in CPR and be up-to-date on their safely procedure training. When outings are planned, are the counselors trained in special circumstances emergency training? Can they recognize tick bites, Lyme disease, spider bites, heat stroke, choking, drowning, sun burn, heat exhaustion or asthma attacks? Are they ready to provide you with emergency contact information, safety training certificates and crisis procedures when asked? There is nothing more serious than the safety of the children.

The Cost Factor

When considering summer camp options, there is always the cost factor. While some day camps might be free, other camp experiences, such as sleep-away camp, can range anywhere from $400 per week or more.

So, how do you choose which camp experience is right for you child? Take into consideration all the factors: time needs, cost, interest and safety. Talk to your child, give reasonable options and decide together. With that said, happy camping, campers!

It’s Time to Start Planning For Summer Camps!

Giggle’s 2024 Summer Camp Guide