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Many children enjoy day camps and overnight camps. Research has shown that a camp experience can boost a child's self-esteem, social and leadership skills, and more.
Day camps usually offer activities during school holidays or breaks. These activities may have a special theme, such as basketball or horseback riding. Private homes, local youth centers such as the YMCA, churches, schools, or child care centers for younger children may all offer day camp programs. Some states license day camps and usually include training requirements and behavior guidelines for all staff.
Overnight camps range from one-night sleepovers to a few weeks. They usually involve a trip to a nearby destination, such as forest cabins or a beach. Overnight camps can be accredited by the American Camp Association. For more information, go to www.acacamps.org.
All camps should have written health policies and disaster plans. They should also tell parents and children how to get the most out of the camp program.1 All campers should have a recent health evaluation and immunization record on file. Camp records should include how to contact parents in case of an emergency.
Some children feel distressed (homesick) about leaving their home and loved ones to go to camp. Some of the things you can do to help prevent homesickness are:2
- Council on School Health, American Academy of Pediatrics (2011). Policy statement: Creating healthy camp experiences. Pediatrics, 127(4): 794–799.
- Thurber CA, et al. (2007). Clinical report: Preventing and treating homesickness. Pediatrics, 119(1): 192–201. Also available online: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/192.full.pdf.
Other Works Consulted
- American Camp Association (2005). Directions: Youth Development Outcomes of the Camp Experience. Available online: http://www.acacamps.org/research/enhance/directions.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Last Revised||September 14, 2012|
Last Revised: September 14, 2012
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