With over 10 Million kids and teenagers who spend their holidays at summer camp every year, there has to be a great variety of camp types to cater for the individual preferences. Here is a short overview:
Private camps are 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. These camps offer a variety of activities including sports, waterfront, arts and horseback riding. Some may also focus on athletic competitions against other camps.
The majority of campers at private camps have a wealthy background and pay a larger tuition to attend camp. 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.
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 (such as YMCA), which relies on charitable donations and grants to operate camp. Most Underprivileged Camps offer general camp activities such as water and land based sports as well as arts & crafts and have basic facilities.
Girl Scout Camps are operated by "Girl Scouts of America"; an organization that promotes the growth of young women in society through activities, challenges and educational experiences. All the campers are female and therefore, female staff is required, 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.
Special Needs Camps service 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.
Faith Based Camps combine traditional camp activities with celebrating the religious beliefs of the campers. The level of religious awareness and 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 lightly way. Most Faith Based Camps in the USA are Christian or Jewish camps.
Day Camps operate 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 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. Note: counselors working at day camps must complete an 11-week contract as opposed to a 9-week contract for Residential Camps.
As the name suggests, not only the kids but also the parents are going to camp. Some families have attended a particular family camp for generations. Counselors at Family Camps are often asked to teach or assist in activities with groups of adults or children, or both. Staff sleep in separate accommodations away from the families. During mealtimes entire families will dine together. Many families that attend Family Camp come from middle to upper-socio economic backgrounds.