Choosing How Long to Attend Summer Camp
Once you’ve made the decision to send your child to summer camp, there are a lot of fun and exciting details to begin to work out. You’ll want to decide on a number of things, such as:
- What activities does your child want to participate in at camp?
- Do you want your child to have an educational experience or one focused squarely on fun?
- Where should the camp be located? Does travel factor in?
- How long should you send your child to camp? (One week, one month, full summer, etc.)
While traditional summer camps generally span the entire summer, many camps are now customizable to fit the exact needs of you and your child. This makes summer camp planning easy since you’ll be able to choose a camp based on your child’s interests without having to worry about rescheduling your family vacation to accommodate for summer camp.
So just how long is Summer Camp? At Pali Adventures, our camp runs for nine weeks—from June through August. During that time, you can choose to send your child to camp for anywhere between one week to the whole nine weeks. When choosing how long to send your child to camp, be sure to consider your child’s previous experience with summer camp or being away from home, other summer activities that you have planned, and of course, your child’s preferences.
First Time Overnight Campers
If this is your child’s first time away from home, you may want to opt for a shorter camp duration of one or two weeks. This is a great option for kids who want to get a taste of camp, but might not be ready to commit for a whole summer.
A one to two week camp session is also a great option for families who have other vacations or activities planned over the summer. Likewise, if a full summer of camp is out of your budget, a 2-3 week session will allow your child to have the same amazing camp experience, without breaking the bank.
If your child is worried about homesickness, it might actually be better to send them to a longer session (2 weeks). Since homesickness usually resolves itself after the first few days, their one-week summer camp session may be coming to an end just as your child is beginning to feel settled. Pali Adventures recommends a two-week camp session for new campers in order for them to have time to really experience camp, develop new friendships, and get the most out of camp.
Multiple Camp Specialties and Interests
If your child feels confident about being away from home and wants to explore multiple interests, sending your child to camp for three or four consecutive sessions may be the best bet. For experienced campers, one or two week summer camps sessions often feel too short or rushed. They feel like they can’t take advantage of all the activities available to them.
Some specialties at Pali Adventures are coordinated so that campers can remain enrolled for three consecutive weeks without repeating any activities. For example, campers enrolled in the culinary specialty will create new and exciting recipes each week of their stay. If your child is a thrill seeker, campers who stay enrolled in the stunt specialty at Pali Adventures will have the opportunity to progress with their jumps and move onto bigger stunts as the weeks go by.
Best yet, if your child has multiple interests and just can’t choose, they can pick a unique specialty for each session they attend. This broad sampling allows them to engage in the variety of activities that interest them.
Camp Travel Expenses
Depending on how far away you live from the camp, it may make more sense to send your child for a longer duration, especially if travel costs are a consideration. Out-of-state and international campers should consider attending camp for a minimum of 2 weeks which can help justify the travel expense.
Be sure to discuss travel with the camp to assure you are clear on the camp’s accommodations to meet campers at local airports and if there are any special opportunities for international campers to adjust to the local time zone.
How to get the Most Benefit From Summer Camp
Summer camp is a place for children to make lifelong friendships and to establish independence. Campers who stay for multiple weeks will have more time to get acclimated and adjust to camp culture, activities, and new friendships. It’s important to remember that camp is not a one-size-fits-all situation. So to answer the question, “how long is summer camp?”— every camper will benefit differently, depending on how long they stay! The best answer depends on what is right for your child.
For more tips about preparing for camp, read the Pali blog