Ways to Green Up Your Kids’ Summer Camp Experience

Summer is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking about summer camp for the kids. Summer camps provide children with opportunities for a variety of new experiences, including learning arts and crafts, going hiking, and meeting new friends. As a parent, however, you want to make sure that your kids’ experiences are eco-friendly and safe. Here are some tips for ensuring that your children’s summer fun is green.

Before Researching Camps

Summer camps should not only enhance kids’ interests, but also expand them. Before selecting a camp, however, you should see what your kids are interested in. Some kids just aren’t thrilled about arts and crafts, especially some older children. They may, however, still enjoy outdoor activities like swimming and backpacking. Talk to your kids, and see what they really want to do this summer. Then, start investigating summer camps to see which would best fit your child. Remember, you want your children to enjoy their summer camp, so make sure that the selected one fits their personalities.

Tips for Finding a Truly Green Summer Camp Fun

• Look for camps that truly take advantage of the outdoors. For example, the Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, California, features an organic farm and farm animals. Children learn the importance of producing their own food and the benefits of ecology.

• Invest in camps that teach children new eco-friendly skills. Love for the outdoors should start early. The Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center in Nederland, Colorado, offers summer camp programs that teach kids fly fishing, wildlife photography and how to build outdoor shelters. Camp Lovewell at The Nature of Things in Nashura, New Hampshire, offers lessons in horseback riding, archery and kayaking on a 350-acre forest conservation area that borders the camp.

• If the camp is mainly indoors (i.e. art camp), then verify that the camp tries to reduce children’s exposure to harmful chemicals and artificial foods. Do a tour of the camp, and check out their procedures. Look at the food served throughout the day, and try to find a camp that serves organic foods.

• Verify that the areas in and around the camp are not treated with harmful pesticides and that cleaning products are nontoxic, which can be extremely dangerous to children. Look for camps with high standards. For example, Camp Lovewell has LEED Platinum certified buildings.