Monday, July 2, 2012

Not Your Average Summer Camp

How many of you went to summer camp when you were a kid?  I was lucky enough to grow up in Minnesota, Land of 10,000 lakes, many of which made for great locations for camps.  My experience with camp was to say the least a fun one.  I attended Luther Crest Bible Camp for three summers in a row when beginning the summer after fourth grade. 

We had all kinds of activities that were somewhat centered around learning about God, but for the most part – it was camp!  We swam every day, made so many crafts I can’t believe we had room to bring them all home in our duffle bags, put on performances consisting of dancing and singing skits, stayed in cabins that had no bathrooms, air conditioning or a real good screen system so you were on your own to fend off those lovely pests of nature that buzzed around your head as you tried to sleep in the sweltering summer heat.  At night there was inevitably some activity that consisted of traipsing off into the woods to have a sing along and roast marshmallows. 

Camp was usually attended with a friend or two, but you made so many more friends while you were there, made them friendship bracelets and took down their address so you could write them letters.  Yes all of you stunned by that, this was before computers and cell phones and all the other fancy devices graced the average American household. 

Now looking to send my own children to camp, I’ve been looking up different options online as I don’t have the background here as I did in Minnesota, in other words, no family history of attending such camps.  In doing so, I discovered something that shouldn’t surprise me, but it kind of does - Computer Camps and Technology Courses for Kids & Teens at Prestigious Locations.   
According to, kids and teens can attend summer camps at universities ranging from Stanford and Harvard to the University of British Columbia.  Instead of creating simple skits and learning how not to burn a marshmallow, these kids head off for a week or two to learn things like Digital Filmmaking, Game Design, Programming & Robotics, Art & Design, Science & Engineering, and Sports & Technology. They come home with a unique project and the confidence to continue their new skills.

Not that there is anything wrong with the average summer camp, but I think I’m going to look into this a little further.  What a confidence booster for any child interested in media!


  1. I was one of those children who never made it to summer camp, because I was too busy doing other activities. From tennis and swimming, to hiking and playing with friends, I remember summer as one long playday. I find it sad that summer is not the same any more. When I recently asked a friends of mine what her kid was doing this summer, she said, "hanging around the house and driving me nuts." True, this friend believes in turning off the TV for the summer, so her kids are not spending endless hours glued to a screen, but we no longer live in a society that views outside activity as something that is good unless it is in the form of an organized sport. I miss catching fireflys and playing on old tire swings. Maybe these new tech camps can plan some spontanious fun times into their tight schedules?

  2. It sounds like elective, college courses to me. I’ll have to do some research and see what the pricing is like. As a child, I loved summer camp. I didn’t get to go as much as I would have liked to, but with 4 kids, my parents just couldn’t afford to send us often. My children went to camp Rokiwan each summer and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Personally, I don’t think my daughter would enjoy a summer camp like that. I know my oldest daughter would tell me it sounds like “school” in the summer. If my son could play video games, he would be jumping at the chance to go.

  3. Although I think that the technology camps are important and have a lot to offer children, not just skills but the confidence that you discussed; I really think that kids today are missing out. I was another one that went to summer camp every summer, and those experiences are ones that you cannot get anywhere else! I hated nature, but at camp, I had to be out in it and learn how to do fun and exciting things. We had running water at our camp, but the showers didn't work half the time and although it sucked, it really was "just part of camp". Mine was also a church camp, and I had some amazing experiences with God, and learned so much! Sorry I'm rambling, but here's my real point: we are always talking about the need to get our kids outside and being active, and yet we are evolving a week that used to be spent outside, making crafts, swimming and more and turning it into a week of sitting in front of the computer. Really? I understand that we live in a different era than we used to, even in the 10 years since my last summer camp (high school), but this just seems to me like taking the fun out of summer, and almost taking the easy way out. It offers kids a lot but doesn't push them outside their comfort zone or help them get active.

  4. Although I never attended a summer camp, these programs sound like a great way to not only keep kids busy during the summer, but help them learn along the way. I do, however, think it does pose the argument, are we pushing children away from the outdoors even more? Yes, it's great that they will be learning about the vast world of technology, but is that the most important thing at such a young age? Or do they need to be outside enjoying simple things like roasting a marshmallow?