Ready, Set, Blastoff to Summer Camp

How Summer Camps Help Children's mental Health

Author: Dr. Julie. Sorenson, DMFT, MA, LPC

Why Summer Camps Are Valuable.

Summer Camps are a valuable time in youth’s lives. Many children make many memories that last a lifetime when they attend summer camp. There are many types of camps to choose from ranging in price and interests. As I write this article the snow is flying, but it is already that time to think about where to send your child to camp because many camps fill up fast. If you are struggling with finances, there are several scholarship opportunities. All you have to do is ask about scholarships. 

The dynamic of being away from home and parents, meeting new connections, being a part of something bigger than yourself and trying new activities are essential in social-emotional learning. Allowing children to be unconnected to commitments, schedules, routines is something that summer camp can provide. Summer camp can raise self-esteem, independence, leadership skills, friendships, social awareness, decision-making skills, and good ole fashion summer fun.

Camps Will Provide a Safe Space for Children to Grow

Summer camps provide children with values such as honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility. Children learn chants, songs, skits, and relay races which provide consistency. Children are trained to become more independent, socially aware, and reflective with the help of trained camp counselors.

Why Send Your Child Off To Summer Camp?

Why send your child to camp? They will discover new things, meet new friends, find a new hobby, or

 improve on skills to enhance their level of competition. Summer camps keep children occupied, on a schedule, off the screen, and exploring new opportunities while meeting new friends. Summer camp can help to improve children’s mental health by keeping them socially engaged while busy with activities. Camps help to improve self-esteem by engaging children in creativity, sailing, archery, swimming lessons, science experiments, dance, music, art, sports and so much more. They have a safe and fun atmosphere where they can explore and discover new things for their curious minds. It allows parents to feel less guilt knowing their children are being cared for in a fun, stimulating environment. 

Children Can Learn So Much At Camp

Summer camps are a place where children can experience challenges like how to build a bonfire, hiking, ziplining, or conquering a high ropes course. They learn how to get along with others, work as a team, and take risks without their parents right there with them.

 Camps pull kids away from the screen, allow them to get dirty, problem solve get frustrated, and develop coping strategies to combat their frustration or anxieties. At summer camp a few things that children can learn: 

  • Build new relationships with peers and adults. 
  • Feel confidence as they discover more about their identity.
  • Feel in control of their lives.
  • Problem solve. 
  • Uncover new skills.
  • Synergize
  • Feel valued as a person. 
  • Get out in nature, breathe the fresh air, and get dirty.
  • To feel like they belong.
  • Set and accomplish daily goals
  • A break from screen time
  • New opportunities
  • Silliness is accepted and bullying is not
  • Become culturally aware and sensitive to those around them.

Camps give children a combination of experiences that prepare them for other aspects of their lives. The experience to be away from home to discover things that reinforce what they are learning at home and school will prepare them for challenges they may have ahead of them in life. 

Camps In the Kalamazoo and Surrounding Areas for Summer 2023

I have provided a list of different camps to choose from in the Kalamazoo area. Here are a few camps available in our area, however, there are many more that may not be on this list? If you are interested in having me provide information on your summer camp details for the summer camp edition for the 2024 schedule, please contact me at  I will be happy to add details about your camp to my yearly summer camp articles.


There is a link to each camp so you and your child can learn more about each camp to determine which one is a good fit for you. 

Academy of Dance Arts

536 Romence Rd Ste 109
Portage, MI 49024


Action Day Camp

7813 S 12th Portage, Mi 49024


Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Summer Day Camps

6151 Portage Rd Portage, Mi 49002

Camp Kzoo

Mayors Riverfront Park 251 Mills St Kalamazoo, Mi 49048


Camp Kidwell

39000 1st Ave Bloomingdale, Mi 49026


Camp Wakeshma

59149 Camp Wakeshma Rd
Three Rivers, MI 49093


Climb Kalamazoo

1136 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, Mi 49007


Cougars KVCC Camps

6767 W O Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009


Crawlspace Comedy Theater

315 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, Mi 49001


Crescendo Academy of Music Summer Programs

359 S Kalamazoo Mall, STE 12 Kalamazoo, Mi 49007


CranHill Summer Youth Camps

1444 17 Mile Rd Rodney, Mi 49342


Dollars & Sense

1903 W Michigan Ave, MS 5420 Kalamazoo, Mi 49008


Gilmore Piano Camp

6225 N 39TH ST AUGUSTA, MI 49012



Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan

12584 Burchette Rd Plainwell, Mi 49080

601 W Maple St Kalamazoo, Mi 49008


Glass Art of Kalamazoo

326 W Kalamazoo Ave #100 Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Interlochen Arts Camp

4000 J Maddy PKWY Interlochen, Mi 49643


Kalamazoo Civic Summer Camps

329 S Park St Kalamazoo, Mi 49007


Kalamazoo Nature Center Summer Camps

7000 N Westnedge Kalamazoo, Mi 49009


KAMSC Sizzlin Summer

600 W Vine St, STE 400 Kalamazoo, Mi 49008


Kingdom Sports Summer Camp



KOHA (hockey camps)

5076 Sports Drive Kalamazoo, MI 49009


Little Gym of Kalamazoo Summer Camps

408 W Centre Ave, STE B Portage, Mi 49024


Montessori School Summer Camps

750 Howard St Kalamazoo, Mi 49008


Next Level Performance Summer Camps

12733 US0131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087


Pretty Lake Summer Camp

9123 W Q Ave, Mattawan, MI 49071


Sherman Lake YMCA Camp

6225 N ST Augusta, Mi 49012


Summer at Wellspring

359 S Kalamazoo Mall Kalamazoo, Mi 49007


TKO Premier SC Soccer Camps

901 S Drake Rd Kalamazoo, Mi 49009


Van Buren Youth Camp

12370 45th St Bloomingdale Mi 49026


YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo

1001 W Maple St Kalamazoo, MI 49008
2900 W Centre Ave Portage, MI 49024

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