Camp Week: How summer programs boost a child’s confidence and resilience

FARMINGTON -- It's time to start planning your child's summer!  Camp gives kids the opportunity to be independent, in an environment that's not completely controlled.

"They have a lot more choices - if it’s a resident camp - what they’ll wear for the day, what they’ll eat for the day," said Keith Garbart of the Connecticut Camping Association.  "If it’s a day camp, more choice of what activities they get to do."

According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps in the United States.  Each year, more than 11 million children and adults attend camp.

The Connecticut Camping Association connects parents with camps through a searchable directory.  Summer camp is expensive.  So, the association can help moms and dads who need financial assistance.  "Most camps do give out Camperships of some sort based on need, based on availability," says Garbart.  "We can start the process for them and then the camp they chose to go to will finish the process."

FOX61's Camp Week explores the variety of options available here - programs including robotics, animals, theater.  Also, camps for kids of all abilities.

"Summer Friends is a program that’s run by the Light House which is in Niantic and Groton," said Catherine Chow of the program for kids in grades 6 through 12 with high functioning autism or similar disabilities.  It focuses on social skills - taking kids out into the community to the beach and an animal shelter.  "You get to reinvent yourself," explains Chow.  "It’s an opportunity to build social skills and meet kids just like you and make friends, make connections in the community."

Camp builds a kid's confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  Summer means making new friends from new towns - challenging the comfort zone in a very positive way.  "Now is a great time to start thinking about camp," says Garbart.  "April is the perfect time to start looking. The weather is getting better people are thinking about camp at that point."

Click here for information about the Natural Resources Conservation Academy.

Check out this link for details about Camp KO.