Key Differences between Day Camps and Overnight Camps
Only a few things are more rewarding than spending time in the great outdoors. Camping provides numerous benefits including a fun challenge, a calm and placid feeling, and a fun method of exercise. Numerous types of camps offering various amenities and unique features exist to provide a versatile array of camping experiences for any need. But while hundreds of camps exist, most fall into one of two categories: Day Camps and Overnight Camps.
Deciding which camp is right for you can be difficult decision. It is important to know exactly what each type of camp is, what it entails, and who it is generally intended for. By knowing the differences between these camps, campers can enjoy an optimal experience in accordance with their own preferences. Multiple factors can influence the choice and each individual will have a different set of wants and needs concerning their camping experience. Age, level of camping experience, desired amenities, and a variety of other aspects are just a few things that can affect the decision. The first step toward making the decision involves understanding exactly how each type of camp functions.
What is a Day Camp?
The first type of camp is a day camp. Most of these camps function during the morning and afternoon, with some providing services throughout the evening as well. Whether intended for full days or half days, many camps offer services that are modeled after the traditional school day in order to provide an experience that is comfortable and easily transitioned into by the young target market. Multiple schools also utilize day camps for field trips and special activities.
Who Are Day Camps Intended for?
Many people, especially young teens and children, are often uncomfortable with the thought of spending time away from that which is familiar to them. While camping is a fun and enjoyable activity for all ages, many people who have never spent time away from their home and family often shy away from camping for such a reason. Day camps provide a gradual experience that can help first-time campers become slowly and comfortably acclimated to the camping experience. As the name suggests, most day camps dedicate their nights to cleaning up and restocking for the next day. Campers are sent home before this occurs, allowing them to get a suitable taste of the camping life while also allowing them to spend a comfortable amount of time in their own home.
Many different organizations provide day camps, including:
- Schools and Universities
- Community Centers
- Charitable Associations
- Religious Groups
Day camps can often be concentrated on different issues. Certain camps are owned by schools, while others are partially funded publically. Some camps such as Lax Camps are based around sports and fun fitness-based activities. Day camps are often more suitable for family outings, as they provide a convenient and temporary getaway full of photo opportunities, group activities, and recreational events.
What is an Overnight Camp?
As the name suggests, overnight camps are camps which provide sleeping quarters to allow campers to stay the night. Also called sleepaway camps, these overnight camps are traditionally created for teens and young adults. These sessions vary; some stays can last for a couple days while others can last for the entire summer season. Multiple benefits can be achieved from this environmental change. For young people, being away from home can provide a sense of independence. Yet the structured nature of a camp keeps this outing safe and secure. Hot meals, professional staff, and secure facilities can ease the minds of parents sending their children to camp for the first time.
Who Are Overnight Camps For?
Overnight camps provide a more all-encompassing experience and encourage children to be social. It is much easier to make friends, learn to resolve conflicts, be personally responsible, gain improved health by staying at an overnight camp. The rigid schedule teaches self-discipline, but the recreational activities and opportunities for friendship make the experience more like a vacation than a chore. Overnight camps can even be used to help children and teens with difficulty focusing or behaving properly to channel their energy in a more positive way. Numerous activities such as crafting, sports, and team-building exercises can keep campers occupied, entertained, and energized throughout the day.
Which is Better?
As with most questions concerning this type of decision making, personal preference plays a large part. High-quality camps exist in both variations, and each type of camp is found in multiple locations across the country. Fun activities and trained staff are industry standards in day camps and overnight camps, and neither shows a clear advantage over the other in these areas. Instead, the choice should be based on the campers experience and the type of adventure the camper is looking for.
Day camps are better suited for individuals who are new to camping, or individuals who like to enjoy a camping experience while still being able to return home at the end of the day to their comfort zone. Day camps are often more relaxed and membership entails less of a commitment than their alternative. Day camps are also better suited for family outings, as their facilities can provide a perfect experience for weekend trips and family vacations. Day camps are a great way to “try out” the camping experience or to enjoy a more casual outdoor adventure.
Overnight camps are a solid choice for those who have camped before and would like to spend more time in the outdoors. Those who enjoy camping and feel comfortable being in such an environment for a longer period of time will enjoy overnight camps. Parents who want to encourage their children to be social and to focus their energy in a structured and positive environment may want to consider overnight camps. Teens who are becoming more independent and desire to demonstrate that in a safe and secure environment will likely also find that overnight camps are the perfect choice.
Choosing between a day camp and an overnight camp is as much about the camper as it is the camp.