Top 6 Summer Camp Trends in 2016 Staff
Written by
for Camps USA
Top 6 Summer Camp Trends in 2016

Summer camps are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of campers and their families. This coming year 2016, whether you are new to the world of summer camp or a lifelong veteran, keep an eye out for six exciting trends.

1) Specialty and Niche Camps.

Archeology, surfing, computer programming, car racing, fashion—whatever your child's hobby, in 2016, you're almost guaranteed to find a summer camp that caters to it. Tons of new camps are launched every year, so camp directors are always looking for ways to make their programs stand out from the crowd. If you have yet to find a camp tailored to your child's individual interests, the new year may finally present you with the perfect fit.

2) Family and Adult Camps.

If you think camp is just for kids, think again. Many camps host family sessions that moms and dads can enjoy with their children. In visiting a national park or exploring a historical city, families can experience all the fun of a vacation without the burden of cooking meals or booking hotel rooms.

Another burgeoning trend is adult camp, in which grownups can relive their childhood memories canoeing, hiking, and playing kickball while also indulging in the pastimes they enjoy today, such as yoga, golf, and wine tasting.

3) Year-Round Camps and Camps Partnered with Schools.

"Summer" camp is no longer confined to the school break. More and more camps are beginning to find value in extending their programs throughout the year. If your child made new friends and developed new skills at camp, imagine how those relationships and critical abilities can flourish in a year-round setting. In addition, camp and school communities are increasingly partnering with one another to share resources and talent. A camp-led program combines the structure of an afterschool class with the familiarity of your child's favorite summer event.

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4) Educational and Academic Programs.

Academic camps provide a fun way for gifted students, special needs students, college-bound seniors, and anyone who simply loves learning to catch up to their classmates or develop their scholarly aptitudes. As families continue to look outside of the traditional classroom for educational opportunities—such as online tutoring or homeschooling—mathletes, history buffs, young writers, future scientists and engineers, and others can continue to find a growing number of academic summer camps to foster their skills and interests.

5) Use of Social Media.

Like so many other organizations in the twenty-first century, summer camps are embracing social media. Parents no longer have to wait for a letter from their children to find out how the week is going. Now, they can log in every day to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar sites for important news, updates, stories, photos, and videos.

Many camps also make registration, packing lists, and other information available via social media, and it can likewise be a great tool for parents to reach out to staff with any questions or concerns that might arise before, during, and after the season.

6) Health and Safety of Campers.

Concern over issues like bullying and school violence is growing, and camps are taking notice. Many camps are taking a proactive approach to these sensitive matters by improving staff training, increasing oversight and mandatory reporting, and implementing zero-tolerance policies.

Furthermore, more camps for the general public are providing special accommodations for children with allergies, disabilities, and other medical needs to ensure that all campers have fun in a safe, healthy environment.

As you explore summer camps this year, take note of these top trends.

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