14 Reasons Why Summer Camp Matters, plus your DIY CAMP QUARANTINE INTINERARY!

If you missed our introduction, click here: DIY Summer Camp 2020; Welcome to CAMP QUARANTINE! Plus my Family’s Camp Scrapbook

Flashback to Summer Camp

From the uproarious experience of running as fast as you can around a table, trying desperately not to choke on a mouthful of pancakes, as an entire mess-hall of girls sings at the tops of their lungs: “Candace, Candace, strong and able, get your elbows off the table! This is not a horse’s stable, but a decent dining table! Round the table you must go, you must go, you must go. . .”

To the soothing laps of canoe paddles chopping through a water-reflected mosaic of sunshine,

To the thrilling site of a bedazzled envelope followed by the holler of your name at mail call,

To the good old-fashioned fun of singing silly songs and roasting marshmallows around a crackling fire with your I-met-you-yesterday-besties-forever-gal-pals,

To the subtle pangs of homesickness that rise with the moon as the songs and chatter and giggles are replaced with the hoots of owls and the chirps of crickets,

To the camp magic, comradery, nostalgia, and flutter of anticipation that arrives with every letter from a pen-pal—beckoning you back through the entire school year . . .

Summer camp to me embodies the spirit of childhood; an unmatched character-building experience, a secondary and alternative education, a celebration of good old-fashioned fun, and a tremendous rite-of-passage.

My First Year at Summer Camp . . . I’m the one with the camera case around my neck


1.) Camp is . . . a BREATH OF FRESH AIR

Canoeing at Camp Cherith

Thanks to pine trees and mountains, camp is often quite literally a breath of fresh air. But also, camp is a new routine, a change of environment, an adventure, a fresh start, an escape, and an exhilarating (and often daunting) dose of freedom.

2.) Camp is . . . CHARACTER-BUILDING

The Andy Griffith Show, Season 4 Episode 31

There is something about roughing it in nature—having to do without and make do, being pushed out of your comfort zone, having all your security blankets stripped away—that facilitates rapid personal growth and maturation. Add to that opportunities for acts of daring and bravery, discovering new skill sets, and excelling in a different environment, and a real formation of self can occur at camp. 

3.) Camp is . . . SKILL SCHOOL (#adulting training)

The Dangerous Book for Boys

Survival skills: building a fire, reading a map, following a trail, making a shelter . . .

Practical skills:  planning/packing, following a schedule/being on time, cleaning, pitching a tent . . .

Craftsman skills: wood-working, leather-craft, metal-craft, pottery . . .

Recreational skills: swimming, diving, canoeing, hiking, horse-back riding . . .

People skills: team work, peacemaking, compromise, leadership . . .

4.) Camp is . . . HOLISTIC EDUCATION

~The camp experience educates the whole child, in mind, body, and spirit~

Bugs Pop-Up by Canterbury Press

Mind: Campers are often required to keep a journal or complete small writing assignments at camp. Sometimes there are tests that must be studied for, especially in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. At camp you are submersed is natural Science every day, witnessing the wonders and miracles of creation through real, hands-on, sensory-rich experiences. And for the many kids who do not really like “school”, or for those who struggle academically, camp can be a place to find areas where they excel and discover new motivations to do well in school . . . or life in general.

Body: From dawn to dusk, Summer Camp is whole-body conditioning. All day children are running from activity to activity —strengthening their bodies through athletics such as swimming and rowing, and building coordination in their fine-motor skills through arts and craftmanship.

Spirit: Camp is therapy on so many levels. The relentlessness of the modern world is miles away. Screens and most other forms of technology are stripped and in their place is a simplicity and serenity that many children experience at camp for the first time. Camp is grounding, and allows children the peace and quiet to tap in to and process their often built-up thoughts and emotions. I believe that is one reason there are often meltdowns at camp. To be free from distractions and the noise of the modern world allows for a deeper understanding of life, an inspiring connection to nature, and a more organic human experience.

5.) Camp is . . . CAMRADERY

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My Parents at Summer Camp when they first fell in love . . . they are on opposite ends of the middle row

Making fast-friends, forced-I-have-to-live-with-you-friends, forever friends, or even falling in love with your future spouse (like my mom and dad) . . . there is a special connection and comradery found among campers. There is nothing quite like having to row for your life to escape a thunder storm that bonds a group of kids together and covers a multitude of differences among them. Sharing the experiences of homesickness, relay races, facing fears, and character-building with others is binding . . . even if you never see them again.


camp 3
Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White

When you complete your first mile swim . . .

When you get up and make a fool of yourself in a skit and the whole camp whoops and shouts in approval . . .

When a whole group of kids is watching you (and waiting on you) to just do it already, for crying out loud, and so you just go for it and DIVE . . .

When you are the least athletic member in your cabin and you carry the flag to victory on the last leg of a relay race as your bunk-mates shout your name . . .

When you don’t think you can make it to the top, but you don’t want to be the cry-baby and so you just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the summit . . .

These are the moments that build a child’s confidence.

7.) Camp is . . . GOOD OLD-FASHIONED FUN

It Takes Two Amazon Watch Link

Mud pits, canoe races, bows and arrows, food fights, relay races, skits, campfire songs, smores, ghost stories . . . Camp is a celebration of classic, screen-free fun.

8.) Camp is . . . MISCHIEF

The Parent Trap Pranks

Making a little mischief is a true cornerstone of camp. Mischief is a camp cornerstone, and it’s role remains the same to this day: getting away from the rules and strictures of school is a necessary relief . . . and camp provides the perfect venue to blow off a little steam and take part in a few good-natured antics. The teachers are gone, the principal has hung up his paddle (historically speaking) and the kids are free to get a little pent-up energy out of their systems! In my opinion, there should be a little room at camp for a few shenanigans, a few pranks, a few broken rules, a little bit of harmless, spirit-freeing mischief. Boys will be boys. Kids will be kids

9.) Camp is . . . a RITE OF PASSAGE

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The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White

Ask anyone who has ever attended summer camp about their expereine and you are  sure to hear HOMESICKNESS mentioned. Camp is often and classically credited as the place where homesickness is first experienced. This could possibly be classified as a negative aspect of camp . . . however, I argue that while it is not a very pleasant or nice side-effect of the camp experience, it is an entirely necessary aspect of it. Homesickness is something that everyone must go through once in their life. And from the interviews I conducted for this Camp Quarantine series, it seems that age doesn’t have too much to do with homesickness, but rather that homesickness occurs at whatever age someone is the first time they are away from home or their parents. For me, it was my first year of camp when I was nine. I had such a bad case of homesickness, I almost didn’t make it through the week. Thankfully, my older sister was there and she convinced me to tough it out. By Wednesday I was having the time of my life and only experienced mild cases of homesickness after that. Better to get it over with at eight or nine than at eighteen or nineteen.

Being off on your “own” away from your parents for the first time, making many of your own choices—like when or if to shower, or whether to row out to that island— camp is a (somewhat) structured and safe place to explore newfound freedoms.


Race for Your Life Charlie Brown, Amazon Watch Link

When my dad was a Boy Scout, he and the other older boys would hike to the top of a summit, or out to a campsite, dump their packs and then hike back to shoulder the pack of a younger, struggling scout. This was something they were taught to do; to take care of and look out for the young scouts. Whether as a Patrol Leader, Scout Master, Camp Counselor, Kilt, or just an older more experienced camper, service and leadership are usually fundamental features of Summer Camp.


If you missed it, check out: Welcome to CAMP QUARANTINE! Plus my Family’s Camp Scrapbook

12.) Camp is . . . REVERENCE

We Sing Songbook

From “Morning Watch”, to flag ceremonies, to nature hikes, to camp prayer, to restoration projects, to Courts of Honor . . . camp celebrates service and ceremony, instilling respect and reverence. Reverence for God, for nature, for freedom, for values. Reverence for history, heritage, tradition, and protocol. Reverence for practical skills, camaraderie, old-fashioned fun, and rite of passage. Reverence for childhood.

13.) Camp is . . . EPIC & EXTRA-ORDINARY

High School Camp . . . I’m the one slogging through the mud pit

At camp, you do things that you could never otherwise imagine yourself doing. Polar Bear swims at 3am, slogging through a mud pit with a piece of fruit tucked under your chin, licking a banana slug on a dare, riding a bike off a jump into a lake, whistling through a mouthful of saltines in a relay—camp is stuffed to the brim with unique, weird, extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

14.) Camp is . . . MAGIC & MEMORIES

My Big Sis carrying the Camp Torch (I don’t think they do this anymore at camp)

There’s a camp nostalgia that can’t really be put into words or be explained to someone who has never experienced Summer Camp. Waking with the birds at dawn for “Morning Watch”, running from activity to activity with wet hair and dirty shoes, hearing shouts and laughter echoing through the forest all day, sleeping under the stars or with the sounds of nature through the screen door of the cabin, roasting the perfect marshmallow . . . Camp is magical. And the magical moments of childhood are often the ones we remember most.

~DIY Summer Camp 2020~

Summer Camp 2020 is canceled. Or is it??? Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing collections of DIY Summer Camp-Inspired activities. Even if you hadn’t planned on sending your kid(s) to camp this year, or if your kid(s) are too young like mine, these DIY Summer Camp ideas can be used to enrich or liven up what may be promising to be a dull and boring summer. So I invite you to make the most of this summer with your kids by spending some amazing quality time together, teaching them a few new life-skills, and just having some good-old-fashioned-summer-fun! This post is your invitation letter to join us in our DIY Summer Camp 2020 journey; CAMP QUARANTINE. There will be several posts over the next few weeks that will go through everything you need to create an incredible at-home summer camp experience that you and your kids (and perhaps the neighbors) will never forget.

Quick Links for this Series:

Stay Tuned for these Upcoming Posts:

  • Bugles, Bells, & Blaring Megaphones; Sounding a SUMMER SCHEDULE
  • BEAD IT! BURN IT! BUST IT! 25 Epic Arts & Crafts for Camp Quarantine!
  • The Giant Q-Tip + 24 more way to REC IT & TREK IT for Camp Quarantine!
  • SPOOKS, SKITS, SCAVENGERS, & (S)MORE! Campfire Circle Activities
  • MISCHIEF, MAGIC, and MEMORIES for Camp Quarantine
Curious George Goes Camping

I hope you and your family will join us this summer in building Camp-Inspired Heritage through experiences that are skill-strong, character-deep, and value-rich.

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~





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