Kids in Camp
Founded in 2007, Kids in Camp is a charitable organization run by past and current camp directors and owners. It’s based in Ontario, and that’s its focus. It works with Ontario families and camps to help support kids attending camps accredited by the Ontario Camp Association (OCA). Though it doesn’t cover the entire cost of camp, it provides subsidies or “camperships” to help parents who might not otherwise have the financial resources to send their kids to camp.
“We want to help out families that may be struggling financially and need some support,” says Perlmutter. “All kids, we believe, should have the opportunity to experience summer camp. That’s one reason we partner with the OCA: They also strive to give kids of all backgrounds and financial means the opportunity to go to camp, including new Canadians. Like us, they want to make camp more accessible and inclusive.”
The value of camp
Over the last couple of years, the value of camp has become increasingly evident. It’s been an extremely challenging time for everyone, and sometimes it feels like kids have been hit the hardest. “I’m worried about screentime. Right now, kids are so immersed in technology, phones, TVs, iPads,” says Perlmutter. “They need to get outdoors and interact with other kids in a normal environment. They need face-to-face interactions more than ever before.”
The pandemic has really underscored the indispensability of summer camp. But the truth is, camp is a necessity at all times. It plays a vital role in promoting kids’ emotional, social, and physical development. It also provides opportunities and experiences that are difficult to find anywhere else, something Perlmutter enthusiastically avows. “Camp is unique. It’s a place where kids step out of their comfort zone, try new activities, have new experiences, make new friends, and engage with campers and staff of all ages. Kids learn to live with others, not just friends, but campers who they may not have that much in common with or who may not be so nice to them.”
Summer camp, in other words, provides a special opportunity for growth. Kids learn, develop, and mature at camp in ways they’re unlikely to elsewhere. “Kids acquire important skills and create lifelong relationships and memories [at camp],” says Perlmutter. “Camp provides a unique setting that enables kids to develop, and Kids in Camp wants to help more kids take advantage of this opportunity every year.”
Having our youth connect with nature and the environment is so important for their mental health.”
—Craig Perlmutter, Board Member of Kids in Camp
The value of summer camp is indisputable: It has numerous, well-known benefits. One of them Perlmutter is especially passionate about is experiencing nature. “Having our youth connect with nature and the environment is so important for their mental health. It helps kids recognize the value of nature. It enables them to develop a love of the outdoors, and it can even lead them to become strong advocates of preserving the environment.”
Summer camp, though it may seem obvious, is important for another reason, one that requires special emphasis: It gets kids to go out and do things. “Kids are far more physically active at camp on a minute-by-minute basis than at their homes or at school,” says Perlmutter. “At camp, they want to get out and be active and creative with their friends, whether it’s kayaking, hiking, swimming, ceramics, or some other sport or creative activity.”
In all, there’s something about camp that can’t be bottled or replicated in other settings: It’s fun, adventurous, and exciting. Kids in Camp undoubtedly recognizes this, and the many other benefits of camp, and wants to help ensure few kids miss out. “Camp is an invaluable opportunity,” says Perlmutter, “and Kids in Camp wants to support as many kids as possible in sharing the unique experiences camp provides.”
To learn more about Kids in Camp, visit their website. You can also make a donation to help them send more kids to camp.