History of Summer Camp in the US:
- Industrial Revolution ended early mid 1800s. Quality and way of life changing.
- Victorian convictions about nature’s moral and physical benefits,
- as well as newer concerns about degeneracy and falling birth rates.
The earliest camps were
- small, private camps for older boys,
- developed in response to growing concerns about the emasculating tendencies of what was called overcivilization.
- located in the woods of northern New England, far from the temptations of city life and the refinements of the “feminized” home.
Types of early camps:
- In some camps, campers did all the cooking and cleaning, and ate off tin plates,
- while at others, a professional cook served meals on china.
Boom in 1890’s-YMCA camps! Urban poor and middle class boys.
YMCA estimated 5000 boys served 1901. By 1916 served 23,300.
Early YMCA camps tended to mimic military encampments – some of that tradition can be seen in the Parent Trap movie
- sleeping tents pitched around a square parade ground where
- campers enacted reveille,
- morning inspection,
- calisthenics, and
- Early 20th century:
- Camps for girls,
- religious camps,
- political camps,
- and in other countries health camps.
By 21st century there’s a camp for everything!
- foreign language,
- computer programming,
Whether serving boys or girls, camps offered a range of activities:
- campcraft (i.e., skills needed to survive in the wild),
- nature study,
- manual training (later called arts and crafts),
- swimming, and a range of the other SPORTS (although early camp organizers frowned on BASEBALL and BASKETBALL as too “urban” for camp-tennis too). P
Image: Orby by the Beach
How to Pick the “Best Fit” Summer Camp.
Benefits of Camp…a few among many
growth in social skills
at risk middle school kids get huge benefit from occupation based summer camps active engagement carries through back into their high risk environments
physical and mental challenges
belonging and culture created by the camp
set up to learn new things
My favorite recipes from the Camp Fire Inc. Cook Book: Camp Fire Celebrates Food and Friendship