Summer Camp Reviews (2016)

Posted by Carlen Long on Feb 5, 2016 2:31:56 PM


Summer camp is all about people: the staff, the campers, the parents, and more. So the best way to learn about various summer camps is to talk to people with experience at a given camp. If you know someone who’s attended camp, great! Chat with them and their kids about it. If not, try reaching out to camps via phone or email. Finally, you can also look up online, third-party reviews. Reviewers are people who vouch for the summer camp's reputation, and can give an honest account of their relationship with the camp and the experience that their children had there.

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Tags: Parents, Summer Camp

Summer camp in Texas: Best resident camps in Dallas (2016)

Posted by Carlen Long on Jan 28, 2016 10:21:40 AM

In this day and age, it seems like more than ever children need to be involved in every extracurricular and summer achievement program just to “get ahead” in academics or sports. Traditional overnight camp, however, provides the opportunity for kids to development truly valuable modern day skills: they can practice oral communication, reasonable risk-taking, problem solving, and more. All of that surrounded by friends and fun. If you haven't already, read more about the advantages of summer camp – there are many.

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Tags: Parents, camp

Summer camp in Texas: Best resident camps in Austin (2016)

Posted by Carlen Long on Jan 21, 2016 3:50:32 PM

Overnight summer camp is not only a fun way for kids to get outside and play, but it’s also a powerful youth development experience. We know that finding the summer camp that best matches your family's needs is a time-consuming process that begins early and involves lots of research - in particular, talking to lots people with experience in sleepaway camp. After all, summer camp is a place that is all about people. 

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Tags: Parents, Summer Camp

Summer camp in Texas: Best resident camps in the hill country (2016)

Posted by Carlen Long on Jan 7, 2016 9:10:44 AM

There are many benefits of summer camp and the independent, character-building experience that children find when away from home. Campers learn make new friends, take reasonable risks in a new environment, and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Most summer campers will tell you that they treasure the friendships and memories made at camp. It’s not just a growth experience – it’s a blast, too!

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Tags: Parents, camp

Why Go Tech Free in a Technological World?

Posted by Carlen Long on Dec 11, 2015 4:20:16 PM


One of our favorite things about resident camp is that it’s almost entirely tech free (for the campers). Instead of being distracted by the buzz and glare of a cell phone screen or TV, kids at camp engage in meaningful face-to-face interactions with everyone they meet. They are running, swimming, climbing, and enjoying the outdoors instead of sitting in front of a computer or Xbox. It’s free play at its finest: allowing kids to be kids and have fun without relying on technology.

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Tags: Parents, skills, growth

Christmas Gifts for Grandkids: Choosing Impactful Holiday Gifts from Grandparents

Posted by Steve Baskin on Dec 4, 2015 3:11:45 PM


This is a relevant re-post of a blog post by Steve Sir in 2013. As the holiday season approaches, all of us are wondering what the best gift for the important people in our lives might be. And to a grandparent, few people are more important than their grandchildren. Here's an idea that many families have found to be the perfect grandparent gift to their grandkids.


Each fall, my wife and I get the same dreaded email from our parents:

“What do the Grandkids want for Christmas?”

Grandparents want our help finding the perfect holidy gift for the grandkids.  They want to give something that satisfies two criteria:

  1. The gift should be something that the kids appreciate and enjoy.  In other words, they want a gift that makes an impact.
  2. It should be something that is consistent with our parents’ values.

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Tags: Parents

Falling in Love with Camp (by Susie Ma'am)

Posted by Susie Baskin on Jun 11, 2014 3:20:00 AM
I came to the summer camp experience late in life.


Loving mom with her girls With 2 of my own "campers"


I was never a camper as a child.  While some of my friends went to camp, I found their long and exciting conversations about their summers in Maine and upstate New York (I grew up in the Boston area) hard to follow.  I could tell that something special had happened for them, but I just did not “get it”.

I was never a summer camp counselor.  I worked with children, but my experiences were with at-risk teens (at a psych ward) and children with cancer (at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute).

I had graduated from the University of Michigan, worked for 3 years and entered Kellogg Business School before I set foot on my first camp property.

I married into camp.  A former investment banker, Steve and his brother were building a new summer camp on a beautiful lake in Texas near the town of Marble Falls. And after graduating from Harvard Business School, he planned to make “summer camping” his career.   We started dating while he was in Boston.  I knew early on that I was not just dating a guy, but also a Texan and a camp-nut.  As I started to think about our being together permanently, I knew that camp was part of the deal.

At the time, it was odd.  I saw the excitement and passion of all the full time camp team, but did not understand.   I worked with the camp, but primarily in the back office as a bookkeeper/administrator.  With my graduate degree specializing in health care management, I assumed that I would end up working in hospital administration or consulting.  My time as a camp person was surely nothing more than a short-term stint.  Occasionally, a camper would ask me what I did at camp.  “Think of me as a pancreas – you are not quite sure what I do, but your are glad you have one.”

Each year, however, I found myself understanding it a bit more.  I would get a chance to talk with a camper at a meal and see her eyes light up as she talked about camp: “I can be MYSELF at camp and I LOVE that.  I wish I could be like this ALL THE TIME!” (For those of you who speak often to teen-age girls, you understand the need to capitalize the key words.)  I would watch as campers hugged their parents at closing, as if they never wanted to be parted again only to exclaim “I’m coming back next year”!

As time passed, I started to see and feel the magic of camp.  I attended 2-3 national and regional conferences annually on camp. I would listen to Steve passionately espouse the power of the away-from-home, community experience.  And I kept seeing the campers grow.  After hours of conversation and observation, I found myself enthusiastically buying into our Mission Statement: “to help every camper grow into the Champion God intends him or her to be.”

My education was coming along nicely.

The summer of 2005 was the final watershed.  Our three oldest children (twin boys daughter who were 8 and 7 at the time) went to camp for the first time. Sending them had been harder than I had suspected it would be.  I was reminded of my mother (a former Lamaze instructor) being shocked at the pain of childbirth.  Despite my understanding of camp, letting go had been hard, but worth it as they returned home so happy and with so many new skills that I was awed. Their newly acquired talents are more than an improved tennis backhand and an ability to water-ski, but extend to making their own beds, being responsible for their belongings, and, best of all, having the confidence to meet new people and prosper in whatever situation might arise.

I should have seen the effect of camp three years earlier.  The evidence was there.  When the boys were only 5 (11 years ago!?!?), they befriended a large number of campers during our first session of camp.  The session ended on a Saturday and the following session began the following Sunday.  That morning, Liam shot out our door like a cannon.  “Where are you going?” we asked.

“I am going to see my friends.”

“But Liam, your friends left yesterday, these are new campers.”

“I know Mommy.  I am going to see the friends I haven’t met yet!”

Camp continues to be a huge part of our parenting strategy. Each of our children will attending Camp Champions as well as another out-of-state camp.  We want them to have an experience that is truly away from home.  One of the boys (now 16) will spend 6 weeks in Costa Rica while the other will go 4 weeks to a language immersion camp in Minnesota.  Our older daughter will spend 4 weeks in Chicago at debate camp.  Our youngest will spend a month in North Carolina.

I know see my role at camp as crystal clear.  I am here to share my lessons with other parents.  I want them to understand the unique growth opportunities of camp.  I also want to help them deal with the challenges of separating from their children.

As I think over my decade-plus in summer camping, I am reminded of George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life.  In this classic film, George Bailey finds himself longing for a life more exciting than that offered running a savings and loan in small Bedford Falls, but soon learns that he is exactly where he can make the greatest difference in the world.  He is only able to see this truth with the help of a child-like angel.

Just as George never left Bedford Falls, I never left Marble Falls.  Unlike him, I had more than one child-like angel to help me see the significance and importance of my work here.

Susie Ma'am


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Tags: Parents

Chinese Education: Summer Camp in China

Posted by Steve Baskin on May 13, 2014 4:58:41 PM

Educational Benefits of Summer Camp in China

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Tags: Parents

How Long Should I Send My Child Away to Camp For

Posted by George Zoeckler on Mar 11, 2014 10:30:00 AM

How Long Should I Send My Child Away to Camp For

Summer Camp Session History

how-long-should-send-kids-to-camp-forThe Summer Camp industry has been around for 150 years, originally centered around major metropolitan areas in the northeast. With the longstanding camp tradition of children leaving the city every summer for rural camp settings, the question is often “Where is my child going to camp?” not “Will my child go to camp?” This decision determined your social circle, professional colleagues, and wedding party. These camps all ran 8 – 10 week seasons with kids spending the entire summer away at camp.

These trends are slowly fading and summer camps have expanded across the country with varying preferences for the ideal summer camp term length. And parents find themselves asking:

"How long should I send my child away to camp this summer?"


Summer camp term length options

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Tags: Parents

What's a good length of time for summer camp

Posted by Steve Baskin on Mar 4, 2014 10:24:00 AM

Ideal Summer Camp Term Length  

best-length-of-time-for-summer-campPerhaps the most common question parents have about summer camp concerns the length of the sessions. They often ask us, "What's a good length of time for summer camp programs?" Summer camp can be as short as one week or as long as eight weeks. Parents want to provide the best possible experiences for their children, so they wonder what the trade-offs are regarding the different session lengths.

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Tags: Parents