A summer camp or sleepaway camp is a supervised program for children conducted during the summer months in some countries. Children and adolescents who attend summer camps are known as campers. Summer school is usually a part of the academic curriculum for a student to make up work not accomplished during the academic year (summer camps can include academic work, but is not a requirement for graduation).
The traditional view of a summer camp as a woody place with hiking, canoeing, and campfires is changing, with greater acceptance of newer types of summer camps that offer a wide variety of specialized activities. For example, there are camps for the performing arts, music, magic, computer programming, language learning, mathematics, children with special needs, and weight loss. In 2006, the American Camp Association reported that 75 percent of camps added new programs. This is largely to counter a trend in decreasing enrollment in summer camps, which some argue to have been brought about by smaller family sizes and the growth in supplemental educational programs. There are also religiously affiliated summer camps, such as those run by Christian groups and various denominations of Judaism.
The primary purpose of many camps is educational, athletic, or cultural development. A summer camp especially for children may allow people to learn new skills in a safe and nurturing environment. Summer camp experience can have a lasting psychological impact on the development of a child.
The first organized camp is often credited to the Gunnery Camp, established in 1861 by Frederick W. Gunn in Washington, Connecticut. This camp primarily served as a place for young boys to engage in outdoor activities and develop physical skills. Girls' camps in the United States began to appear around 1900; many of the early camps were located in New England. In 1900, there were fewer than 100 camps in the United States, but by 1918 over 1000 were in operation. Early camps for girls were located in remote, natural areas, and many camps featured a water venue. There were outdoor activities such as canoeing, archery, and hiking. Other types of popular instruction involved handcrafts, dramatics, camp and fire-making. Campers slept in wigwams, tents, or open dormitories. Any of these options encouraged a camper to take responsibility for maintaining her own personal space and to develop self-sufficiency.Mimicking Native American traditions such as council fires and storytelling generated a sense of community and inspired campers to become conscientious members of a group. Typically, girl campers wore their hair in a version of native style. Uniforms were standard in most camps, but braided hair and headbands were common attire for campers. For camp ceremonies and pageants, girls would dress in special Native inspired dresses, at times even contributing to the handiwork. In this era, camps were considered to be a natural pathway for young girls to develop healthy bodies, self-assurance and a sense of community.Today's girls' camps offer many activities, such as STEM Camps, sailing, and dramatic arts.

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