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The Different Types of Overnight Camps for New York Kids

kids looking at plants at an overnight camp

There are many different overnight camp options, with different session lengths and programs. No matter what type of camp you choose, you’ll be giving your child the opportunity to form strong friendships, experience new activities and gain important life skills such as leadership, confidence, resilience and independence. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of camps to help you figure out which might be the best fit for your child.

If you are looking for camps around New York and the North East, check out The Best Summer Sleepaway Camps for 2020 in New York and the North East

Coed Camps

A coed overnight camp serves all sexes. Coed camps can either run activities that are coed or separated by gender, however, campers might come together for meals, evening events and special events. When exploring coed camps, make sure to ask the camp director about which activities are together and which are separate. Coed camps often share facilities and are unified in mission and traditions.

Parents with children of different genders may find coed camps easier logistically, allowing for siblings to have a shared camp experience. Coed camps mimic “real life” with children of differing genders interacting with each other. If your child has a lot of friends of the opposite sex, a coed camp could be a good fit.

Brother/Sister Camps

Brother/Sister camps — A brother/sister camp is a hybrid of a single sex and a coed camp. They are two distinct camps that are related to each other, whether on the same property or across the lake. The camps have separate facilities but may share a few common ones and the activities run separately. The two camps come together throughout the summer for certain evening activities, special events and to spend time with siblings or cousins at the other camp.

Brother/Sister camps can be a good option for a parent who wants a single sex camp yet has children of the opposite sexes or for parents who have children of one sex, but want them to interact with the opposite sex at points during the summer.

Religiously Affiliated Camps

Religiously affiliated camps have a religious component to the camp. There can be a range of religiously affiliated camps. Some camps have more of a cultural feel while others infuse religion into the camp program and offer religious services.

Traditional Program

A traditional program is a set schedule that is created to give a balance of activities such as land sports, water sports and creative arts along with some choice activities. Campers rotate through their daily schedule with their bunk and age group, except for choice activities. Counselors usually travel with their bunks, which allows them to get to know their campers well. Traditional programs expose children to a variety of sports and activities they may not have chosen on their own while also bonding with bunkmates.

Elective Program

An elective program allows for children to choose their own activities throughout the day, whether with the help of their parents before camp begins or independently. Campers don’t travel to activities with their counselors, bunk or age group. Elective camps are great for children who are more independent, don’t tend toward group activities or sports and who like to socialize with children of varying ages.

Specialty Program

At specialty camps, children focus on one activity, whether that’s soccer, STEM, gymnastics or horseback riding. Specialty camps are great for children who know what they want to focus on and feel that they want to spend hours at a time honing that skill.

Session Camp

Session camps offer different sessions throughout the summer. Some session camps offer multiple sessions throughout the summer allowing campers to stay for a few sessions while other camps ask families to choose the first session or the second session, so all campers come and go together. Session camps give families flexibility if they want to travel over the summer or if their child has other plans for the rest of the summer.

Full Summer Camps

Full session camps run for seven weeks, with all the children arriving and leaving at the same time. Campers become ingrained in the community for a longer period of time and there aren’t campers coming and going during sessions. Full summer camps are great for families who know they want their child at camp for the majority of the summer.