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Letter: Kids Camps Combat Summer Slide

Once upon a time, back when we went to camp, camps focused on athletics and the arts. Primary activities at most included hiking, sports, running around, and blowing off physical steam, with arts and crafts for quiet periods or rainy days. Alternative camps inverted the formula, specializing in arts—drama or drawing or music—with games and sports as recreational add-ons. 

 

That has changed. These days camps are offering more and more in the way of high-end intellectual stimulation, extending the learning of the school year with STEM programs or courses in multimedia design. It’s no surprise that modern, more activist parents have embraced camp as an extension of school, as more than 100 years of research has detailed the loss of learning that takes place when intellectual exercise is eliminated. Kids slide about two months backward in math skills during the summer. (They also, despite all the exercise, tend to gain weight.) 

 

So the shift to incorporating some brain stimulation into summer programs is welcome. It’s certainly good for the kids who participate. Those who can’t afford such camps—which run from around $500 to $1,200 per week—the gap only grows.