Enrichment Camps Are Camps, Too!

When I was growing up, camp had a pretty narrow definition that generally meant a sports camp or a traditional overnight or day camp on a lake. So much has changed since then and I encourage you to take a look.


Many programs today fall under the title of “enrichment.” That’s really just a title and a quick look will dramatically open up your options.


Enrichment programs are plentiful and no longer have the feeling of “summer school” – to use a term we are familiar with as parents. Some examples include robotics camps, debate camps and science camps, and all are available locally.


For those of you preparing your son or daughter for college, I found a program where students spend four days touring the many college campuses in New England. I also found a jazz band camp that didn’t include the marching band package that was always grouped together when I was in high school.


My point is that, at their core, enrichment programs are no different than say, basketball camp. The children arrive from local towns and mingle with kids they’ve probably just met for the first time. They will need to converse with other boys and girls their age who are equally anxious on the first day. They will get to create music, poems and LEGO towns and all ability levels are sure to throw in the standard summer move – a cartwheel – somewhere along the line. Downtime will truly be downtime for being  creative. They will (hopefully) take in the beautiful surroundings where these enrichment programs are based and not be trying to cram in a quick homework sheet while they wait for the bus or have an extra 10 minutes during recess because dance class is two hours tonight.


As a director of summer programs, I’ve noticed that sometimes parents are cornered into thinking our sons and daughters are missing out on a camp experience because they don’t enjoy sports or the outdoors. I would say that camp is camp, regardless of the focus. The benefits are basically the same when you really think about it. Having your child learn and grow in an atmosphere that is not graded, a little less structured and is served with a freeze pop cannot be a bad thing.


I look forward to seeing you all soon in the warm sun of summer!


Jim Castrataro is the director of summer programs at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. For 17 years, he’s been a director and camp consultant to a variety of camp programs that have served thousands of children and young adults.

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10 Feb 2015

By Jim Castrataro