By Nell Scannon
Co-Owner South Yuba Club
In the last few decades, boosted by the internet and social media, there has been a huge expansion of job sector opportunities. Children of today have a much bigger, more complex, and potentially exciting world to discover and realize their dreams. The challenge for parents who live in more rural communities is exposing their children to these opportunities without it being huge energy or financial burden. This is what summer camps were made for – but the real magic is that kids WANT to go!
Some of the benefits of summer camps are obvious. It’s wonderful for social skills and encourages children to make friends with new people. Camp activities are challenging and focus on creativity and teamwork. Kids learn to enjoy things that are healthy, like physical activity and nutritious food. Camps promote self-confidence and personal improvement. And on top of that, kids are immersed in whatever the camp focus may be – many of which will help them get ready for the next grade in the fall and put them ahead of their peers. So, what are some of the options?
Some of the most popular camps are sport-centric. Whether your child enjoys a specific sport and wants to do it for fun, or if their focus is competitive, there are many to choose from. An incomplete list includes Baseball, Basketball, BMX, Cheerleading, Equestrian Sports, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Surfing, Swimming, and Tennis. Living in California, pretty much the sky’s the limit!
Some camps that have expanded greatly in recent years are art camps and technology camps – and there can be a wonderful overlap of the two. Do you have a child interested in creating animation for video games? Or, a child who wants to choreograph her own dance routines? The opportunities for kids to delve into their passions without the distractions of homework, and be in daily contact with teachers who are experts in their field, could chart the trajectory of your child’s life!
Not feeling the vibe? How about any number of adventure camps, academic camps (Robotics, anyone?), Girl and Boy Scout camps, and dozens of theme camps (Cooking, Farm, Music, Space). As a child, I went to several different camps with different themes. I was packing my trunk in January in anticipation of my departure in June or July – and I was a shy kid! Try sitting down with your son or daughter and seeing what kind of camp sparks their interest. If boarding camp is too much, day camps are a great icebreaker.
Don’t think there isn’t a camp for your child. In addition to those I’ve mentioned, there are wonderful camps for children with special needs. These camps include many of the same activities, but offer the extra help needed.