What is Camp?

"Camp is a classroom without walls — an expanded learning environment that plays a crucial role in the education and development of the whole child. By providing children with the opportunity to connect with nature, participate in human powered activities, and benefit from personal and primary relationships, camp is helping the youth of today develop into the leaders of tomorrow."

— Peg Smith, CEO, ACA (Reprinted by permission of the American Camp Association. ©2005 American Camping Association, Inc.)

American camps have a 150 year long tradition. The first commercial camp founded in 1861 originated with the aims of combating “softness” and immorality found in modern city boys with a return to the toughening aspects of outdoor life. Guided by moral, skilled, and intelligent men, campers would learn about life and nature through an outdoor summer journey.


Although Camp today is much different to what it was then, it still promotes the same core values as it did before:

  • Camp builds a sense of community by helping children learn how to live together and care for one another.
  • Camp promotes critical thinking by placing safe challenges in front of children, causing them to rely on their creativity and innovation, rather than calculators and pencils.
  • Camp embraces the natural environment, bringing us back outdoors and appreciating our Earth.
  • Camp creates future leaders. Leadership and initiative are invited qualities of camp. By creating opportunities to excel, camp is an inviting place where one can discover their potential to lead.

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