Kids today always seem to be online or connected to their electronics, and sending them to summer camp is a good way to pull the plug and teach them hands-on, valuable life skills. What might surprise campers is that these institutions started hundreds of years ago for a similar reason. Check out these interesting details about the history of summer camping in America.
Fun Facts About the History of Summer Camps
1. They Started So Boys Could Escape the Traps of Modern Life
As cities across America became industrialized, summer camps were founded in the late 1800s to allow boys a chance to escape city life, industry, and being indoors. Parents and educators feared children were missing out on character-building experiences learned in the great outdoors.
2. The First Summer Camps Combined Education & Camping
The pioneers of summer camps in America saw the educational opportunities camps offered and incorporated academic curriculum with outdoor recreation. That’s because educators worried children lost out on learning during summer months.
3. The First Overnight Camps Were Small Outposts
The first summer camps catered to young, white males from urban areas and consisted of small buildings near lakes. Often, camps were crafted to resemble Native American buildings.
4. Girls Weren’t Allowed Until the Early 1900s
By 1914, girls were allowed to attend summer camps, too. While at camp, they learned to cook, sew, and clean. The earliest summer camps for girls upheld traditional feminine values but did give them a chance to leave home for an extended period.
5. World War II Changed Everything
Summer camps began to resemble the camps of today after World War II. Camps began specializing in disciplines, such as drama, sports, arts, and outdoor recreation. Rather than prepare kids for adulthood, they allowed children to explore their passions and simply have fun.
If you’re looking for a sleepaway summer camp that embraces education, outdoor recreation, multiple disciplines, and fun, Camp Walt Whitman offers a unique summer camp experience in New England. Featuring seven-week programs for boys and girls of all ages, this camp allows children to explore everything from sports to woodworking while in residence. Call (800) 657-8282 or visit their website to learn more about available activities.