CHOOSING A CAMP: Myths and facts

. March 8, 2013.

We are constantly barraged with information about camps – from magazines and
emails, to headline news and parents talking on the sidelines at little league. Sometimes
it’s hard to separate fact from fi ction. You will want to know what’s true and what’s not
as you answer the all-important question, “What will I do with my kids next summer?”
To help guide you, here is a list of myths vs. facts about camps.

MYTH: “Overnight camp is only for the rich.”

FACT: The truth is that there
out there to fit every
budget. And, if you plan ahead,
you can take advantage of early enrollment
discounts and fi nancial aid.
Applying early, it is possible to get a
20-50% discount off of camp tuition,
based on need. Private camps tend to
be more expensive, so contact camps
run by your local county government
or agencies like the Campfi re Boys and
Girls, the YMCA, Boys Scouts and Girl
Scouts, the Jewish Community Center,
and the Salvation Army. Lastly, inquire
about shorter sessions and discounts for
multiple children from one family.

MYTH: “Only I know what is best for my child.”

FACT: It is tempting for us (especially
if we are former campers) to re-create
our own camp experience for our child.
While the saying “Mother knows best”
is true in most circumstances, soliciting
some input from your child is the best
approach when choosing a camp. Involving
the child in the camp research
may produce unexpected results. Maybe
you think an all boys camp is the best
place for your son, but he may want the
opportunity to make friends with girls
in a relaxed setting. You may think your
daughter wants to be at a camp that
specializes in art and drama because
that is what she enjoys, but maybe she
wants to improve her tennis game this
summer. Ask your child: do you want
to build on your existing strengths and
interests this summer or try something
new? Be open to the unexpected!

MYTH: “If I send my child to camp with a friend, it will make her more comfortable.”

FACT: What outwardly seems to
provide a safety net has its pitfalls. A
friend can sometimes act as a barrier
to your child’s making new friends. All
too often, one of the campers has a difficult
time. The other child then feels
responsible for the friend, which can
be extremely burdensome. In addition,
your child may choose his activities
based upon his friends’ interests, rather
than his own. It is important to weigh
the comfort of going with a friend with
the possible drawbacks. If going with a
friend is the only way your child will try
camp, it might be worth it. Just prepare
your child with possible scenarios and
provide him with the problem-solving

MYTH: “A specialty camp – rather than a traditional camp – is the best place for my child.”

FACT: Specialty sports camps focus
on teaching technical skills, not necessarily
life skills. A child goes to this
type of program to work on the skills
for one sport (or for the art form, or for
drama, etc.), rather than to be part of a
community found in a traditional camp.
Parents should not make the mistake of
thinking a specialty camp will necessarily
provide counselors to take care of
a homesick child. The coaches and instructors
are there to teach skills, not to
help your child to make a friend. Therefore,
I usually recommend younger kids
attend these programs with a friend.

MYTH: “A 1-week session is the best way to ease into an overnight camp experience.”

FACT: Sometimes it is the parent who
sets a child up for an overnight camping
failure by offering things like “I will pick
you up if you are unhappy,” or “Let’s
just try this camp for one week to see
how it goes.” Kids need a chance to feel
homesick and get through it with the
help of counselors and individual coping
mechanisms to feel successful about
a camp experience. One week barely
gives a child a chance to find their way
around a camp, much less feel the tinge
of missing Mom and Dad (or the family
dog). A two to four week introductory
session allows the child to be immersed
in the daily routine of a new and safe
place, build friendships that will carry
over until the next summer, and feel the
success of doing something totally on
their own. Do the research right and feel
comfortable with letting go!

MYTH: “My son plays sports all year long, so I want to give him a break from the routine.”

FACT: While it is a nice break for
some kids to fish and hike at camp,
others just want to play ball! I advise
parents to look for a camp that can provide
the sports that the child likes, plus
some new challenges that the parents
might want for their child. Summer
sports are far different than sports during
the school year. There is less of an
emphasis on winning. A child who can’t
make the select baseball or soccer team
at home may shine in a camp environment.
There are no “helicopter parents”
hovering over their kids or yelling on
the sidelines. One camp director told
me that at the beginning of each session,
the campers focus much more heavily
on the sports because this is how they
are comfortable socializing. Yet, by the
middle to end of the session, the kids
are much more comfortable to take risks
– both athletically and socially. Whether
it is up to bat or on the boat, these
camps hire counselors who serve as
role models to teach qualities like good
sportsmanship, teamwork, and learning
to lose gracefully.

Eve Eifler is part of Tips on Trips and Camps,
one of the oldest and largest camp advisory
services. For more information, visit

local camps
Summer is just around the corner! The Ann Arbor area is loaded with fun, interactive,
and educational camps to keep your children busy. So, kids, get ready to explore the
world around you and the imagination within you!

(800) 49-SCOUT
ALL girls in grades K-12 can choose
from horseback riding, water activities,
travel adventures, art exploration, outdoor
adventures and leadership opportunities.
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan 2010
resident/family and day camp guides are
available now! Call today or browse our
camp guides online.


At KidSport, children participate in games,
sports and fitness activities that are age
and developmentally appropriate. Special
discounts/scholarships available. Staff
include certified teaches and physical
education and education majors. Outdoor
Adventures (UM Rec Sports) and Camp
Explorations (UM Exhibit Museum of
Natural History) partner to provide alternative
camp experiences.

3540 Dixboro Lane, Ann Arbor
Our program follows the Montessori
practices and principles.
Combination of educational activities
and art projects.
In-house presentations and field trips.
All on our 40 acre campus…join us!

4611 Platt Rd., Ann Arbor
Children as young as 3 years old can
enjoy Gym America’s summer camps
filled with fun activities like gymnastic
classes and open sessions supervised
by a fully-certified staff. Full-day and
half-day sessions throughout the summer.
Whether your camper wants to
explore gymnastics and swimming or
outdoor games and art projects, Gym
America has something every child can
enjoy. For camp options and details, visit

3045 Broad St., Dexter
Welcome to Dancer’s Edge Summer
Camps! We have so many different camp
options for students ages 3-18. Come try
our:Princess Camp for 3-4 year olds
Leadership and Girls Empowered Camps for ages 5-11
Musical Theater Camps for all ages!
Cheer/Dance Camp with the U of M Dance Team
for ages 7-12
We have Vocal Camps, Musical
Theater Camps, Art Camps and much
more! Please visit our website at or email
us at
or 734-424-2626 for full class options and
availability. We look forward to spending
summertime with YOU!

2841 Boardwalk Dr., Ann Arbor
At Arts in Motion your child will explore
concepts of music, dance and art in a supportive,
fun environment. You will see
them flourish in the creative atmosphere,
develop self-confidence and perform
with style. Our experienced teachers will
encourage the artist within each student
for an experience they won’t soon forget.

Get creative this summer with Barb’s
Sewing School’s Summer Camp Program!
This camp is for children ages 6-14 of various
sewing skill levels. Choose between
Clothes Camp, Sew Crafty camp, Dress
a Doll, or Elephants on Parade, all held
from 9 a.m. – noon. A new all-day camp,
“Sew and Bake Camp” is available
for children 10 and up. Class
size is limited to 4-5 students
each and all equipment is
provided. See details at

University of Michigan
2335 Duderstadt Center
2281 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor
Camp CAEN is the ultimate computer
engineering summer camp offered
by the University of Michigan College
of Engineering for students ages 10-
17. Learn C#, C++, Web Programming,
Graphics, Dig Photography, and 3D
Modeling. Get ready for summer fun and
high-tech learning @ Camp CAEN. See for full

2975 W. Liberty Rd., Ann Arbor
734-665-3738 ext.52
Liberty Athletic Club’s themed weekly
summer camps for ages 5-10 include swimming
lessons, sports activities, field trips,
creative projects, and more!
NEW to our camp lineup this year are
Pre-Teen camps for ages 10-12 with themes
like “Rock Your Summer” and “Extreme
Sports,” and a specialty “Kung Fu” camp!
See our ad on page 9 in this issue!
734-665-3738 ext. 57

Grass Lake, MI
Arbor Meadow provides riding instruction
to children and adults of all levels
in Huntseat, Western and Dressage.
The farm is located in Grass Lake,
Michigan on 320 picturesque acres.
Every summer we offer Fairy Princess
Pony Camps, Intro To Horses Camps
and Competition Prep Camps. Contact:
734-426-2853 or

117 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor
734-994-8004 ext. 122
The Ann Arbor Art Center’s Creativity
Camp offers kids ages 4 – 12 the perfect
balance of fun and learning all in the name
of art. Offering weekly themed art sessions,
clay on the wheel and clay art. Full
and half day options. For details and to
register go to

Stunt Academy! – Like no other theater
camp! The Ring of Steel Action Theater
presents its award-winning day camps to
introduce aspiring young action stars to
the fun, challenges & safety protocols of
stunt work. Nationally recognized instructors
teach swordplay, falling, rolling, flying
and much more. 1:5 teacher ratio!

YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo is the
largest provider of child care in the area,
serving more than 2,000 children each day
at 31 locations. Care is offered for children
ages 6 weeks to 12 years through early education,
school-age, 2nd shift and summer
programs. Care is also provided on non
school days. Early education provides a
Creative Curriculum with enriching activities
to encourage physical, social/emotional,
cognitive, and language development.
School-age programs provide a Healthy
Kids Curriculum with activities that help
children grow physically, emotionally and
intellectually. The YMCA/JCC provides
flexible care and rates to meet your family’s

416 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor
Doughty Montessori is located in a beautiful
old train station, in the west side of
Ann Arbor. Children, aged two and half to
six, are educated in traditional multi-age
Montessori classrooms by well-trained and
experienced teachers.
Doughty Montessori is based on the teachings
and writing of Maria Montessori,
who believed that developing the human
potential was a path which led far beyond
the confines of the classroom. Montessori’s
deep faith in the human personality developing
free from psychological trauma and
repression, held for her the vision of “a
new man, a new society, a new world.”
Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions
or to schedule a tour of our school.

323 E. Hoover Ave., Ann Arbor
Kenville Studios offers four different week
long Summer Creativity Day Camps.
Creative Clay and Ballet Intensive(this
is for ages 8-11 only). Complete Puppet
Theater Production – students create original
story, puppets, set, and performance.
Be your own producer! Also, Coordinated
Art & Movement School. curriculumbased,
different each day. Express yourself
and build confidence through movement,
music and art.

100 South State St., Ann Arbor
Head Coaches Bruce Berque and Ronni
Bernstein invite you to participate in the
University of Michigan Tennis Camps. All
sessions are held at the beautiful Varsity
Tennis Center, and will be taught by all
five varsity coaches, current and former
Wolverine players, and selected Ann Arbor
tennis professionals.

Held at the University of Michigan
60 Prestigious Universities in the
U.S. and Canada
1-888-709-TECH (8324)
Over 100,000 students ages 7-18 have created
video games, websites, movies, C++
and Java programs, iPhone and Facebook
apps, robots and 3D animations. Fun and
challenging summer camps, located at
60 prestigious universities nationwide,
including the University of Michigan.
Year-round learning with iD 365 free online
workshops. Save w/code MI23.

7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline

My Urban Toddler is this area’s premier
young family resource. Offering a city
themed play space for children ages 0-5,
boutique for all maternity and child-related
needs and education through The Learning
Center! To find out more about us or to sign
up for SUMMER CAMPS and Seminars,
please visit

710 S. Forest, Ann Arbor
We offer a play-based program for children
3 months to 5 years old year round
plus a school age weekly summer camp.
Summer camp registration forms available
on our website.