Why Send Kids to Camp?


campAs the summer months start to edge their way to the front of the calendar, parents begin their personal season of angst: school is ending for the year, and the kids will be HOME. Furthermore, they will be BORED. At this time of year, no matter where you turn, the media is there in its various forms, reminding parents they must choose camps-the right camps-for their children.

The newspapers are splashed with ads. Fathers open their mailboxes and colorful pamphlets on shiny stock rain down on their shoes. Mothers in the park discuss the merits and demerits of various camps.

Many parents will be tempted to emulate Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”, and, “think about it tomorrow,” but it’s not going to get them very far. Especially since, bottom line? Camp is terrific for kids.

Relaxed Summer Discipline

Camp offers order and a kind of relaxed summer discipline that’s comforting to kids, who can tend to feel kind of adrift once the regimented days of the school year are a thing of the past. Kids need schedules and some idea of how their days will go. They need that all year round and not just during the school year. Camp gives them that feeling of stability that yes (!) we do know what they’ll be doing at 10:00 and when it will be time for lights out. Kids need to know that someone is in charge. It makes them feel secure.

Then there are the social benefits of summer camp. Camp offers a brand new setting, and oftentimes, new people to meet and befriend. Free of their school year reputations (bad or good) kids can test out new social skills. A kid may be unpopular all year long and then find out he or she can be popular at a camp like Camp Oorah-the life of the party! Now that’s a confidence-builder.

Camp lets kids try out new skills. Maybe your child always dreamed of learning kung fu, or cake decoration. Camp is the place to experiment. Who knows, your kid could end up being the next Bruce Lee or Jamie Oliver! Or then again, he may discover that bird-watching is just plain boring and scratch it off his to-do list forever. That’s okay, too. He’s stretching his mind and learning his own likes and dislikes. It makes him a fuller person.

A Little Break

Going to a sleep-away camp such as one run by Oorah can also teach children independence. Not to mention that parents and kids get a little break from each other, making them appreciate each other that much more once camp is over and they are reunited. Moms have the freedom to laze around or get errands done without worrying about their kids, because they know they’re in good hands. Kids get to experience life on their own and learn how well their parents’ discipline, up until now, has served them.

Some camps have a theme. Oorah’s camps, for instance, offer fun and vibrant settings where kids can explore their Jewish roots and learn about the traditions of their forefathers. Prior to attending oorah camp many Jewish children associate Judaism with boring High Holiday services that drag on and on in a foreign tongue. At The Zone, kids get to see a different side of Judaism: one that is compelling, beautiful, and worthy of remaining a part of their lives forever. That’s the hope-and based on what their parents’ say, it’s working.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Camp? Why? So the kids can’t structure their own time? Maybe we should give them the opportunity to learn how. Maybe even give them the opportunity to deal with boredom, instead of fleeing from it as from a plague. Fifty years ago only rich kids went to camp. The rest of us made do, using our imaginations, the local library, and whatever came to hand.

    The only drawback to an unstructured old-fashioned kid-powered summer is if both parents work. Then, of course, some sort of daytime supervision is necessary.

    But the bottom line is, kids need to be kids,learning how to amuse themselves and even spending time lying on their backs looking up at the clouds and dreaming.

    Kids using drugs became common just about the time that TV, camp and non-stop external amusement became the rule in childhood. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a connection.

  2. I know from first hand experience that old timer is incorrect in his facts. My brother and my sisters all went to camp and we were nowhere close to rich. Bh Rabbi Borchadt a”H let my parents pay what they could afford and we attended camp agudah and camp bnos. If you just look at the pictures in the mike tress book of camp agudah it does not look like all the kids were rich like old timer says. Old timer probably always lost color war as a camper so has something against one of the greatest tools in Jewish education.