No longer are kids’ summer camps centered around hiking, canoeing, campfires and craft-making. These days, camps are teaching kids everything from how to identify animal tracks along a nature trail to how to milk a goat and collect eggs. Take a look at five summer camps where kids will leave at the end of the week with far more than friendship bracelets and a tie dye t-shirt.
Camp Cook, Burlington, VT
Aspiring chefs ages 10 to 16 can stir, slice and season at Camp Cook. Situated at The Essex Resort & Spa in Burlington, VT, kids will gather eggs from the on-site chicken coop, meet the resident farmer and collect fresh ingredients from the vegetable and herb gardens before cooking up a collection of delicious recipes. Upon mastering the kitchen during this five-day cooking camp, kids go home with a certificate, recipe booklet and chef’s jacket.
Civil War Camp, Prince William County, VA
Home to two major Civil War battles, Prince William County, VA hosts several summer camps in July and August for children ages 8 to 13 who want to brush up on American war history. The Basic Civil War Camp introduces campers to the life of a solider during the Civil War, while the Advanced Civil War Camp explores artillery drills and the life and duties of non-commissioned officers. Both camps include a field trip to Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Family Farm Camp, Paonia, CO
At Zephyros Farm & Garden in Paonia, CO, children ages 4 to 17 will enjoy five days of farm immersion at Family Farm Camp. In late-July, campers will spend time milking goats, collecting eggs, feeding pigs and playing with all the farm animals. Kids will also work in the vegetable and flower gardens, learning to care for and harvest plants, as well as plant new crops for the fall. Once the farming is complete, children will work with staff to make farm fresh meals each day.
Survival Camp, Smugglers’ Notch, VT
During the five-day Survival Camp at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont, kids ages 9 to 17 will learn a variety of wilderness survival skills, as well as modern camping and backpacking skills. Each day has a specific experiential focus, whether on shelter, water, fire or food. Kids will leave camp with a knowledge of plant and animal identification, tracking, Native American games and local heritage. An overnight experience enables campers to pull their skills together as part of a camp-out on the mountainside.
PADI’s Kids Sea Camp, Various Locations
Kids Sea Camp is a week-long camp for children ages 4 to 18 who want to learn to scuba dive while learning about marine life, our ecosystem and environmental conservation through underwater clean-up activities. This summer, campers have the opportunity to enjoy scuba diving camps in the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, St. Vincent and more. Adults can join too as multiple generations are able to come together to explore these scuba diving camp experiences.