When June finally rolls around, directors of sleepaway camps and teen summer programs get to see the fruits of their year round labors of love. While parents scamper to pack trunks and duffels, trip leaders and sleepaway camp directors dot the final I’s and cross the final T’s to make certain this will be your child’s most memorable summer yet. I am fortunate to still spend my summers in the great state of Maine, the same state I spent 12 fabulous summers as a camper and then a counselor at a traditional sleepaway camp. I do not exaggerate when I say that those summers were every bit as instrumental in making me the adult I am today as were my college and graduate school years. No doubt camp and teen summers are expensive, and I am often asked, “What makes it worth the money?” My 83 year old dad recently commented to me that the money he spent sending the four of us kids to camp was every bit as important to spend as our college tuition. To do it, my parents made some financial decisions and personal sacrifices. They did it because they knew what a great camp experience could do for a child.
Things are no different today. Families that choose to pay for sleepaway camp, teen travel, wilderness trips and academic enrichment programs have made a thoughtful choice that the summer experiences their children have will be critical in molding who they ultimately become. I take pride as a camp advisor in helping families find a fit that will make the same difference in their children’s lives that my camp experience made in mine.
Barb Levison is the New York City advisor with Tips on Trips and Camps and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org