Choosing a full session camp is certainly a commitment, especially for a first year family or staff member as the pandemic continues to impact our lives. Nonetheless, that commitment to travel to Maine from all over North America is one main reasons we had an average of 97.8% of our families chose to return between 2010-2020 and staff members have considered career choices that allow them to return for the summer. Overnight summer camps that chose to open in 2020 were able to successfully provide a healthy and fun experience as the COVID pandemic shut down the world. One important approach to ensuring the community’s health is creating a bubble, which full session camps are able to most easily achieve by eliminating the possibility of new people breaking the bubble during the summer.
As parents we understand the desire to have our children near and/or participate in shorter local specialized programs or how easy it can be to forgo it all and allow them to delve into their devices. At Vega, we design custom a program for each camper, which allows them to focus even more on athletic, artistic, and/or performance skills they are interested in. We have seen first hand that full session camping is the most valuable summer experience for both campers in the myriad of benefits camp provides, most importantly in social and emotional growth. We send our sons to a full session camp so that he can benefit from the kinds of life-skills and friendships that can only result from a full session experience.
Summer camp creates advantages for kids by providing an experience through which they can build the skills that predict for success in college, career, and life: resilience, independence, optimism, self-regulation, and the ability to connect with others. [i] That is why parents choose to extend those advantages as much as possible. Over 95% of Vega campers return every year because they love it, and feel loved while here! We see firsthand (and hear from parents after the summer) such noteworthy growth in a variety of social, psychological, athletic and artistic areas every summer. One aspect that has become clear to us over the years is that true growth takes time.
Overnight summer camp for girls is a powerful vehicle for developing strong friendships, self-confidence, gratitude and appreciation for others and the environment. Furthermore, when the entire summer camp community shares the same schedule, it furthers their bond and commitment to have the best summer experience possible.
Girls travel to Maine from as far away as California and Arizona only knowing their camp big sister, pen-pal, and Kyle and Emily, and they soon have great friends and an extraordinary sense of accomplishment. All of the wonderful things about camp are maximized when girls are allowed to experience them together for a longer period of time: friendships and connections to community and tradition are stronger, girls become more self-reliant, skills are developed further, and values become more meaningful. This is one of the main reasons why girls come back every summer.
Perhaps the strongest argument for full session camping comes directly from Vega campers. We hear year after year from our campers that, “Vega is the only place where I can truly be myself.” It is rare and priceless for girls to find a place where they can be “real.” We know that this is possible because our community lives, loves and laughs together from late June through early August.