As families consider plans for the summer, some may talk of overnight summer camp, sometimes known as sleepaway camp. While many families are familiar with the values of overnight summer camp, to others it is a murky concept, or one framed by the movies with summer camp as a backdrop, or worse, the summer camp parody. The reality of summer camp is about kids having a safe space, separate from their daily lives, where they can challenge themselves, develop independence and new skills and responsibility, relate to nature, and make new friends. To accomplish this, summer camps, such as those in New Hampshire, like Camp Quinebarge, provide a structure of activities, meals, and free time, guided by a staff committed to their well-being and happiness.
Typically, overnight, or sleepaway, summer camp mornings start with breakfast and cabin clean-up, during which campers straighten their own spaces and participate in cleaning the shared cabin areas; followed by a number of organized activities done as cabins, by age group or by individual preference. Afternoons consist of lunch, rest time, maybe some swim time, and other activities; and evenings have dinner and a special activity. At Camp Quinebarge kids determine four of their five daily activities for each week, in addition to swim lessons, rest hour, and general swim to relieve the heat of the day. We also offer daily local hiking trips to choose. Evenings have special activities, such as Capture the Flag, Find the Counselor (always a challenge), dances, and camp fires, and our closing circle. The reassuring ringing of our camp bell announces the schedule, giving pace to the day.
Camps will also have special activity days, in which the whole camp celebrates. Camp Quinebarge has the Monkeytown Carnival which is a festival of games and foods, including burgers grilled on the fire, and the Monkeytown Olympics, a partner festival of field sports and obstacle courses. Festivals and camp fires tend to be camp highlights, but all times are special at summer camps in New Hampshire and everywhere.