How long should I send my child away to summer camp for?
This is a question families sending their kids away on a camp often ask.
Summer camp sessions are generally divided into three categories determined by term lengths:
Short term: One week summer camp sessions
One week camp terms are used to introduce kids to overnight camps. However, one week is often not long enough to adapt to camp life.
Mid length term: two or three weeks
This offers a great balance between the convenient summer schedule, having fun outdoors and positive youth development experiences.
Full summer session: four weeks
Noting a new trend now from European schools is that young people are pushed towards longer summer camp term lengths if the camp offers language classes. Spending at least four weeks of their summer holidays abroad in a foreign speaking country is a must.
Finding the best summer camp length
New campers generally need at least two days to become fully integrated into the camp community, one week is barely enough to fully appreciate it. Most campers‘ time at one week camps is usually spent either settling into camp life or getting ready to leave it. Short term lengths are often not quite long enough for campers to make the most out of it.
There are many advantages for longer stays. Campers staying longer will get to know most if not all the other kids at Camp and can often help them integrate quickly. They usually take on leading roles and are highly appreciated by campers staying for less time. They also have the benefit of getting to participate in most or all activities the Camp offers.
Longer summer camp terms allow for a more rewarding experience where new skills can be explored and closer relationships are built. It is remarkable how fast children can make friends, but sharing experiences over a second and third or even fourth week of camp goes a long way in strengthening these bonds to help form relationships that will sometimes last a lifetime, especially when campers return every year- spending summer after summer together. Attaining a sense of self and personal identity typically occurs sometime in the second week.