Whilst every camp is different they generally fall into one of the following categories:
This type of camp is run by an agency such as the YMCA, 4-H clubs, Campfire Boys & Girls, etc. These camps follow the traditions of the agency with which they are affiliated and are operated by a board of directors rather than an individual owner. A variety of sports, arts, waterfront and outdoor living activities are offered to suit camper interests. Campers come from various socio-economic backgrounds.
This type of camp operates for daytime sessions only. Children arrive early in the morning and participate in a full day of activities before returning home to their families at the end of the day. Counselors lead the campers through a variety of activities each day. Counselors live either in on-site accommodation (dorm rooms, camp staff house) or with host families and have most evenings and some weekends free, once the children have gone home. Day camps are often located closer to towns/cities than residential camps and campers may come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Most day camps are co-ed. (*Note- counselors working at day camps must complete an 11-week contract as opposed to a 9-week contract for residential camps).
This type of camp offers campers an opportunity to attend traditional summer camp while celebrating their religious beliefs at the same time. The level of religious awareness as well as the level of religious involvement required from camp staff varies depending on the camp. Some camps focus more heavily on religion and religious studies, while others incorporate religious and moral beliefs into daily camp activities in a more subtle manner. Most religious camps in America are Christian or Jewish faith based (though camps based on other faiths exist as well). The campers at religious camps come from various socio-economic classes.
This type of camp is operated by the Girls Scout of America, an organization, which operates year-round clubs to promote the growth of young women in society through activities, challenges and educational experiences. Girl Scout camps have female campers only and most have female-only staff, though a few may have some males on staff. The camp facilities are often rustic, using platform tents and camping (tents) for accommodation. The main activity focuses are arts & crafts, outdoor adventure/cooking, waterfront activities and ropes courses. Campers come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.
This type of camp is a privately owned and operated business. Many private camps are all-boys or all-girls camps, though there are also many co-ed private camps. Many families have been sending their children to the same private camp for generations, so traditions are strongly rooted in the camper and camp staff community. These camps offer a variety of activities including sports, arts, waterfront and horseback riding. Some may also focus on athletic competitions against other camps. The majority of campers at private camps come from higher socio-economic backgrounds and pay a larger tuition to attend camp.
This type of camp services people with various types of Special Needs including (but not limited to): Mental and/or Physical Disabilities, Blindness, Deafness, Learning Disabilities, ADHD/ADD. Campers may range in age from young children to adults or elderly campers and the camps themselves may accommodate children only, children and adults, or adults only. Funding is often through grants and donations and the camps are run by organizations or foundations, which operate year-round services for persons with special needs. Extensive training is provided for all staff. Facilities are usually highly specialized to accommodate to the needs of the campers. Many counselors will work with campers on 1:1 or 1:2 person ratios. Most Special Needs camps do not require counselors to have previous experience.
This type of camp services children from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Many campers may be attending camp on a scholarship, if their families cannot afford the camp tuition. Underprivileged camps are usually run by an organization or foundation, which relies on charitable donations and grants to operate camp. Most underprivileged camps offer general camp activities such as water and land based sports and arts & crafts and have basic facilities. Campers mainly come from regional inner cities.