By Laurie Evans
Families have so many options these days for filling their summers – visits to state parks, museums, water parks and enrichment classes, plus sports leagues and vacations.
So with so many options open to families, why should they choose camp for their kids? Lexington Family Magazine went looking for answers from local moms and the kids themselves.
Here’s what they had to say.
What Parents Say:
- Camp is an opportunity to learn things that aren’t taught in school.
- Well-trained teenaged and college student counselors make good role models for children.
- Kids get experiences that their parents may be unable to provide.
- Kids are exposed to new people, new ideas and new experiences.
- Activity reigns – not playing video games and staring at TV.
Cassie Weig, a Lexington mom of 8-year-old Ethan and a full-time school health team leader, chooses a variety of camps for her son each summer.
“I don’t want my child in regular day care all summer,” she said. “It feels like he doesn’t get a break from school.”
In the past few years, Ethan has attended camps at Lexington Children’s Theatre, Curious Edge’s Club Scientific and the Living Arts and Science Center. Weig has been pleased with his experiences.
“They get to do things that there just isn’t time to do in school,” she said.
Weig likes that Ethan keeps learning all summer, saying, “It keeps him fresh. He’s still learning, but it breaks things up.”
Jennifer Smith of Lexington is the mom of active 8-year-old twin girls, Madison and Taylor.
“They are really physical, and they don’t get to be physical very much at school,” she said.
The sisters enjoy going to Transylvania University’s All-Sports Camp. Smith feels that the well-trained counselors are good influences.
Another favorite camp for the Smiths is the Living Arts and Science Center. “I’m not crafty or artistic,” Smith said. “The girls bring home things they’ve made that I just couldn’t do with them very well.”
Summer camp is a rite of passage for kids, according to Smith.
“Kids have to go out of their comfort zone at camp. They have to be able to make new friends, try new things,” she said.
What Kids Say:
- Camp is FUN!
- You can learn things you can’t learn in school.
- Free time to hang out with friends is great.
Ten-year-old Henry Blyth of Lexington wanted to learn something new, so his mother, Julie, signed him up for a robotics camp at Curious Edge’s Club Scientific, an Egyptian art camp at the Living Arts and Science Center, and a mechanical engineering camp at UK’s Newton’s Attic.
“I learned a lot about mechanical engineering,” Henry said. “Things I wouldn’t normally get to do at school.”
Henry and his fellow campers made robotic gripper arms attached to a go-cart.
“All the time, I was cutting metal with saws and drilling holes,” he said.
That’s not something most kids can do in elementary school.
Henry’s advice to other kids: “If you like to learn, you will like camp.”
For 10-year-old Elizabeth Isaac of Nicholasville, summer camp is all about socializing. Sure, she enjoys swimming and playing four-square, but for her the big draw is spending time with her “camp friends.”
Elizabeth has attended the Jessamine County Parks and Recreation summer program since first grade.
“I don’t get to see these friends in school, so I like to go to camp to spend time with them,” she said.
Her favorite thing? “Sitting by my friends at lunch and talking.”