The Summer Camp Blog

Musings on camp and education that are both entertaining and informative, offering a great reminder of what camp is all about and why the summer camp experience is so important for our kids.

Meet the Camp Director

Vinny painting a scene set

Vinny Alexander, the Chair of the Performing Arts Department at The Harvey School for the past 12 years, has been actively involved with the Harvey Cavalier Summer Camp for more than 20 years. He assumed the role of camp director this past summer, following in the footsteps of his mentor and friend, Chris Del Campo, who started the Harvey Cavalier Camp in 1996.

We hope you enjoy his musings!

What the Good Camps Offer

By Camp Founder Chris Del Campo

When the final school bell rings signaling “no more pencils, no more books, no more ….” (Well, you get the idea), kids across the land rejoice for the beginning of summer break and family vacations to exciting locales, trips to visit grandma and grandpa in faraway places, and, for many, the start of summer camp.

It doesn’t matter if their choice is day camp or sleepaway, parents should know that enrolling their children in a summer camp allows for the learning to continue beyond the school calendar, and in many ways, within a learning environment that is often better suited for the child, especially if the choice is a “good camp.”

In her online article on PsychCentral, Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. gives great advice on what enrollment in summer camp means to the growth and development of a child during the time the youngster is away from school and immersed in a good camp.

Dr. Hartwell-Walker says summer camp is great at providing kids time away from feeling the pressure to achieve, from having to do things on time, from having to learn at someone else’s pace.

Good camps satisfy parents’ desires that their children keep learning and growing through the summer in a safe, nurturing environment that offers kids a host of opportunities to explore beyond their familiar range of knowledge and experience.

Good camps not only offer interesting and exciting activities but do so with professionals guiding the campers through uncharted realms of experience. Professionals not only have the knowledge but also the skills to share what they know in meaningful ways. High school or college-age counselors may mean well and have the enthusiasm and personality to make the campers feel comfortable in a new learning activity, but qualified professionals have the experience and expertise to fully engage the campers in a meaningful and fruitful learning environment. When researching camps, parents should ask the directors: who’s teaching my child in the activities? And ask as well the most important question: How do you vet your instructors?

The best of the good camps offer a wide array of electives and allow campers to choose their own activities … with some guidance from mom and dad, of course. One of the great pleasures I enjoyed as a longtime director of Harvey Cavalier Camp was seeing the excitement and anticipation on the faces of the youngsters when they received their summer schedules, ones that they themselves created by choosing electives that would satisfy their curiosity and motivate them to fully engage in the activity.

As you attend off-season open houses and search the internet looking at camp options, be sure to consider only those that are first, proven to be safe; second, offer a wide range of interesting electives; third, employ talented and qualified instructors; and, lastly, create a summer learning environment that not only provides fun but opens up your children’s eyes to new knowledge that more than fills the void left by the long layoff from school.

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