Camp Types Explained

There are many different types of camps that offer a wide variety of options. You can find an overnight or a day camp for most of the camp types. Here is some information to help you decide which camp is right for your child:

  • Traditional/General – Traditional/General camps offer a little bit of everything like team sports, swimming, boating, fishing, archery, performing arts, arts and crafts, music, dance, hiking, wilderness adventure, and rock climbing. Programs can be structured, semi-elective, or elective. A structured schedule is prearranged. Semi-elective is where the camper has some choice in activities. Elective means the camper decides their entire schedule.
  • Academic – Academic camps focus on specific areas of study designed to either improve grades or explore the sciences. Some examples of what academic camps offer are: ESL, STEM, SAT Prep, Foreign Languages, Tutoring, Study Skills, Biology, Computer Gaming, General Science, Rocketry, Robotics, and Physics. The schedule is usually structured and can be rigorous. Many camps also have fun activities to give kids time to rest and play. They may have team sports, horseback riding, hiking, and arts and crafts.
  • Arts – Arts camps can specialize in Dance, Music, Performing Arts, Creative Arts, Technical Theatre, Painting, and Visual Arts. Many are held in theaters, on college campuses, and dance companies. The programs are normally exclusive to the art. Many are for children who have some experience. There may be auditions required.
  • Religious – Religious camps are predominately Christian, Jewish, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, and Presbyterian. Religious camps can also be traditional/general camps. This means they offer the same activities as a traditional camp with a focus on a specific religion.
  • Sports Specialty – Sports specialty camps usually focus on one sport. There is extensive instruction and campers spend most of their time playing or learning about the sport. Some examples of sports specialties are Football, Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Horseback Riding, Cheerleading, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Softball, Golf, and Tennis.
  • Wilderness Adventure – Wilderness Adventure camps are usually overnight and can last anywhere from a couple of days to a month or longer. It is usually in a forest or a mountainous area. Campers sleep in tents and sleeping bags. Some of the activities are: Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Rock Climbing, White Water Rafting, Survival Skills Training, Canoe trips, and Mountain Biking.
  • Community Service – Community Service camps offer programs for kids to get involved in helping local communities. Some camps offer enrichment credits towards graduation. Campers can live in the community they are helping. It is normally labor intensive and includes things like building houses, installing water systems, farming, engineering, animal care, and nature preservation.
  • Special Needs – Special Needs is a broad term that is used to separate traditional and specialty camps from those that cater to specific needs. A special need includes but is not limited to: Diabetes, Cancer, Autism, Physical Disability, HIV/AIDS, Cerebral Palsey, ADD/ADHD, Weight Loss, Underprivileged, Grief/Loss, and LGBTQ. Similar to traditional camps, they offer activities such as horseback riding, swimming, climbing, team sports, and arts and crafts. Depending on the special need, the camp may offer education for kids and their families specific to the need. They may also have group therapy sessions or one on one counseling. If the camp specializes in disease or physical disabilities, there are most likely nurses or doctors on site as well as medical facilities. Some camps have an approval process. This may mean filling out an application, providing medical documents, or speaking directly to their admissions personnel.