A male and female are walking up the steps to enter Lacrosse sleepaway summer camp

Top 5 Benefits of Sleepaway Camp for Kids

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When making your summer plans, you’re balancing a lot! Family summer vacations, summer sports schedules, and enrichment to keep your kids engaged with the break. This time of year brings ample opportunities for summer camps. This is a great way for your child to engage with new friends, gain new experiences, and get outside of their comfort zone! Choosing a summer camp for your child can be hard, so we put together a list to help you better understand the options available, while highlighting the significant benefits that a sleepaway summer camp experience can deliver to each child. 

Summer Camp Options to Consider

Since there are so many different summer camp options to consider, let’s start with a basic overview on what’s available for your child.

Sleepaway Summer Camps

First up is the traditional sleepaway summer camp. This usually involves your child traveling outside of your local area, and you can select anywhere from one week to multiple week sessions, depending on each camp’s unique schedule. These camps are typically formatted to give children the opportunity to choose different activities throughout the day, and brings everyone together for evening activities. There are traditional day summer camps that operate this exact way, only they’re local to your area, and the camper commutes to and from camp each day. 

Specialty Summer Camps

Getting a little more in-depth, we have specialty camps. There are specialty camps available in either day or overnight options, and they typically focus on one specialization (for example: Sailing camp, Nature Camp, etc.) for their activities. This ensures that campers have the opportunity to really immerse themselves in the interest of their choice!

Sports Summer Camps

For the aspiring athletes, enter sports camps. Offered in both day camp and overnight options, these sports-focused camps spend the majority of the time developing in one, or multiple, sports. This is a great option for anyone, from the beginner who just wants to improve their fundamental skills, to the advanced player who is looking for a challenge and wants to further develop their skill set.

It’s also possible to find a blend of these options, giving your camper a full experience of variety. When making this decision, you’ll want to keep in mind your budget, availability for transportation to and from camp depending on the schedule, and of course, your child’s special interests that will keep them engaged and help them develop a beneficial skillset.

A group of male lacrosse players sitting under a pavilion at summer camp as they speak with a professional lacrosse player

Sleepaway Camp Benefits

We will focus on the benefits of overnight camps or “sleepaway camps” for the benefit of our readers. Sending your child to be under someone else’s care is sometimes pretty scary! However, a great sleepaway camp experience should develop your child in more ways than you could imagine upon signing up. Let’s dive into the top five benefits of sleepaway camp that we have personally seen our campers develop in just a week’s time.

  1. Opportunity for Independence

Your child is out on his or her own for the first time! They are now responsible for keeping their belongings organized, being on time for activities, meal choices, and activities they want to engage in. Their choices may have consequences (for example, eating too much pizza and ice cream before bed, landing them with a stomach ache), but it’s their journey to navigate and learn from. We see a lot of campers improve their decision-making skills and ownership over the choices they make in just a few days. Taking ownership is something we wish more adults would have in the workplace and day-to-day life… it’s amazing to see this growth in children in a comfortable and controlled environment. And sleepaway camp is just that! 

  1. Character Building

Many camps engage children with controlled adversity and challenges to develop character. We want the camp to test a child’s comfort zone and simultaneously provide support and encouragement to break through that adversity. That’s why you see so many games at camp that are competitive and require teamwork (remember- teamwork with new friends your child just met!). These challenges are designed to encourage children to dig into their toolbox of character skills and determination and come out on the other side. 

  1. Leadership Development 

Truly, one of the greatest benefits of sleepaway camp: Your child gets the chance to write their own story. It’s a whole new environment with the opportunity to make new friends and grow into the leader your child always wanted to be, but might not have felt comfortable walking into in their school or sports life. Your child naturally has more independence at summer camp, which fosters the confidence to lead. 

  1. Social Skills Development

Okay picture this: you’re dropped into a whole new place, filled with fun activities and the things you love to do, with no one you’ve ever met before! That’s the first day of camp, and everyone is in the same boat. Your guard drops and you have no choice but to reach out to someone new and offer your friendship. Camp is the perfect circumstance to do this in, because everyone is unified around games and activities – creating an environment that inspires fast friendship. And the benefit of making new friends in this environment is that it gives children the ability to grow into adults with powerful social skills. 

  1. Skill Development

Many camps give children the opportunity to advance a skill (or many skills). Sports camps do this by employing a variety of coaches your child hasn’t had the opportunity to learn from before, and designing a thoughtful curriculum to develop your child’s skills in the sport. You may also find the opportunity for your child to sign up for adventure, nature, drama, arts & crafts, or other activities as well. One of the best benefits of camp is your child learning something that they otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to learn at school or in recreational sports. 

A co-ed group of young lacrosse players playing a game on the beach at sunset

Skill Development-Focused Sleepaway Camp

Overall, there are many benefits of a sleepaway camp, especially if you can find a sleepaway camp that incorporates skill development in a traditional summer camp setting. We know it may be hard to send your child away to be without your family for a week, but we promise: when they come back from camp they will be a better leader, more independent, a stronger friend, and you will see their character and new skills grow and start to glimmer through for the next school year ahead. 

Want to know more about Signature Sports Camps’ week-long overnight camp sessions, and what makes us unique? Learn about our values and the experience we aim to provide each camper, then check out our camp locations and get registered for the summer of a lifetime!

A group of young male lacrosse players engaged in a game on a field overlooking the water in Florida
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