summer camp boys 2014Summer camp comes in so many varieties; it could be challenging to choose one for your child. But beyond each camp’s location or theme comes the question of whether a day camp or a sleep-away camp works best for your family.

Advantages of day camp

For parents, cost is a major decision driver – day camp may be not just the best, but the only, option for giving kids some organized summertime activity. For kids, local day camps will likely be populated with at least a few schoolmates and neighborhood friends, who could help a less extroverted child, feel comfortable and accepted. For younger children, day camp can serve as a “practice” for sleep-away camps later on.

Possible issues with day camp include the need to transport the child daily – an inconvenience if you also need to get to work.

Advantages of sleep-away camp

For many kids, their first big step away from the comfort of home is through sleep-away camp. It’s an eye-opening experience -- living with strangers, following new rules and responsibilities, and regularly testing their mettle on activities they’ve never tried before. “Camp is about character, community and a prolonged period of independence,” psychologist and author Michael Thompson told the New York Times. Many sleep-aways are within more rural areas, offering city kids a rare opportunity to commune with nature.

Possible issues with sleep-away camp start with the big one: homesickness. This is a perfectly natural phenomenon, but it takes some careful steps from parents. “Tell your child that some feelings of homesickness are normal and help him practice coping before camp starts,” says the American Camp Association. “But never ever say, ‘If you feel homesick, I'll come and get you.’ This conveys a message of doubt and pity that undermines children's confidence and independence.”

Horizon Education Centers have summer day camps and you may want to consider checking out the options now as you think about your child’s summer camp choices. Register early by May 23rd to receive a free camp shirt and free registration!

Horizon Summer Camp