Summer Camps: How Did it All Begin?

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Kids summer camp is an option that parents have to provide entertainment as well as activities for their children to enjoy once school is over. We have all heard of summer camp, but where did it all start? Learning more about the history of summer camp and where it all began can be fun as well as interesting, especially if you are considering placing your child in a program this summer. Read on to see just how summer camp started and where it is today.

The Beginning

Camp programs for kids began as a boys-only option in the 1870s and 1880s. Boys were able to ‘rough it’ which was considered a way to build character. In the beginning, there were less than 100 camps but over time, the popularity of summer camp began to grow. By the early 1900s, the camps were considered a way for children to develop in a quality manner.

  1. Stanley Hall is a psychologist who wrote a book in 1904 titled Adolescence. In this book, Hall describes how being in nature can help with child development. Because of this book, camps would boom, going from 100 across the United States in 1900 to over 1,000 by 1918. Camps did turn away a bit from the ‘rough it’ aspect and began to offer movies, radio shows and sports lessons such as tennis.

Canadian Summer Camps

Once summer camps grew in popularity in the United States, Canada began to take notice. By the 1930s, only a few summer camps existed in Canada due to the smaller population. By 1932, the Ontario Camping Association was created to provide a quality summer camp program model for kids in Canada. Officials wanted to focus on balanced programming, a quality diet, facilities and teaching kids how to respect and have an appreciation for the environment.

World War II Affects

By the time World War II began, the summer camps in North America were hard to maintain in regards to being a standard camp and isolating kids from the world. Many camps began offering combat training as a result of the war as part of the recreational aspect of camp. By the time the war ended, the idea of summer camp began to change. Summer camp became a need for children and in Canada, thousands of camps began to be created and the OCA grew in size. Camps began to become specialized, offering focused activities such as music or sports.

Today, summer camps are quite diversified. Parents will find camps that are in nature and camps offered in busy downtown areas. Specialized camps exist still today, with popular themes such as sports, theater and music along with options for co-ed or gender specific.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a number of summer camp programs, both day camps and overnight options. Our Kid-Vantage Adult & Tot program is open to 2 to 4 year old campers and our drop-off program to 4 to 6.5 year olds, featuring unique activities filled with fun. Zodiac Day Care provides an opportunity for a half and three-quarter day drop-off programs for 2.5 to 4 year olds who receive a fun-filled variety program. Our Specialty programs are a mix of half day variety and half day specialty and are for children ages 6.5 to 12.5 and include a nice variety of activities including music and sports. Contact us to learn more about what program would suit your child the best!


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