By Anna Lawson
Many people wonder why parents would send their children away, sometimes to a place with less desirable accommodations than at home or a family vacation. Sure, a twin sized bunk bed and mosquito bites sounds less appealing than staying in the comfort of your own home. However, sleep away camps provide people of all ages with an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The first thought that comes to a child’s mind when they hear the words “sleep away camp” is no parents! Kids enjoy the idea of being unsupervised. Of course, this is not completely true as there are counselors around to ensure safety, but children still learn about independence. Being away from home and a normal routine that includes the same people allows them to explore their comfort zone and decide what they like and dislike. Glenelg Sophomore, Jordan Chizmadia, said that, “I was only eight when I went to sleep away camp for the first time. I loved being able to try new activities and meet new people!” It is good for kids to get to try new things and develop their own opinions.
Most camps nowadays have a disconnect policy. This means that they discourage and exclude electronics. Most modern kids and teenagers feel terrified to leave their phones for weeks at a time, however this can actually be quite refreshing. Many have gone to the same sleep away camp for years and say that being away from their phone is one of their favorite parts. It allows one to live in the moment. In addition, being phone-less relieves stress. Keeping up with Snapchat, Instagram and the other social media apps tends to be very stressful, so those few weeks without responsibility to them is relaxing.
Some summer camps include camp-wide competitions for example, Color War. In most cases, the camp is split up into two teams that compete against in various events. Competitions like this allow campers to let out their competitive side. Campers can usually request to be a part of a certain activity or event. Since camp-wide competitions tend to occur towards the end of camp, campers have had the chance to try all of the different activities and choose their favorites.
Most campers’ favorite part is making new friends. Many camps have a cabin set up, so campers have the chance to meet people and create tight bonds that can last a lifetime. Sophomore, Megan Lydon, said, “I went to sleep away camp five years ago and am still in touch with some of my cabin mates.” Cabins usually eat and participate in activities together, so everyone becomes very close.
It surprises many that just talking about camp can bring a smile to their face. Camp is a place to make lifelong friends and try different things that one would have never imagined themselves doing. If you have excluded the idea of going to a sleep away camp after a bad experience at one, try another! There are countless people who had bad experiences at another camp but were happy that they did their research and eventually found their fit. Sleep away camps provide an experience like no other and wonderful memories that will last the rest of your life.