We as parents understand the desire to have our children near and/or participate in shorter, specialized programs. Yet we have seen first hand that full session camping is the most valuable kind of camp experience for kids. We send our own son 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.
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 love seeing (and hearing from parents after the summer) such amazing amounts of 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.
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.