Every summer, most kids dream of attending sleepaway camp. The endless days of swimming in lakes, making smores and living life without parents; it sounds like the perfect way to spend summer, right? Wrong. Sleepaway camp has been remodeled into being this picture perfect event, and discards and hides all the negative impacts that come along with it. Before one does decide to go away to sleepaway camp, make sure to consider every aspect and component of it, and be mindful that it is not as safe and extravagant as it has been portrayed to be. 

One of the many aspects that teenagers and parents don’t acknowledge when looking into sleepaway camp is how dangerous it actually is. Sure, there are camp counselors all around, but usually, they are just there for the money, or are being forced to for community service hours, and are not paying attention to their campers whatsoever. While camp counselors are slacking off by being on their phones, it creates an environment where the children are not being watched as carefully as they should be, and results in many casualties that could have been avoided all together. Additionally, there have been several reports of abuse happening at sleepaway camps, according to USA Today. While abuse may not occur often, there is no guarantee that your child will be safe at any sleepaway camp with all the different dangers to keep track of. 

Not only can sleepaway camp present many dangers to campers, but it is also a rather large commitment for some kids and teenagers to take on. Sleepaway camps can last from one to eight weeks, and despite the length of it, sleepaway camp takes up a huge portion of kids’ summer and can interfere with any other summer activities that families have planned. Teenagers, more likely than not, are always super busy during summertime, with high demand practice schedules and family vacations, and this doesn’t take into account the time spent going to sleepaway camp. Sending your children off to sleepaway camp can ruin the rest of one’s summer, even if it seems like a good idea at the moment. Nonetheless, children are still sent to sleepaway camp without knowing the workload and time that must go into it, and are left unprepared, wanting to go back home.  

While many parents might be eager to send their kids away to summer camp because they think they will have the time of their lives, in reality, it doesn’t always work like that, and many kids get homesick. Sleepaway camp has been set up to be these wild and amazing adventures that every kid must experience at least once in their life, but it is not the life for every kid. According to the American Camp Association, nearly 96% of children felt homesick when spending two or more weeks away from home at sleepaway camp. In addition, experiencing homesickness can also lead to high levels of anxiety, which makes camp that much less enjoyable. Homesickness can be so intense that it causes campers to have difficulty sleeping, eating, making new friends and overall, makes them miserable. Although not every camper will go through this, many do, and it makes the camp experience, which is supposed to be fun, the exact opposite. Many times, this problem can be avoided completely, if parents stop forcing their kids to attend sleepaway camp. 

Regardless of the countless dangers of sleepaway camp, it can still provide children and teenagers with benefits that will stick with them throughout their lifetime. By sending children off to sleepaway camp, it allows for them to grow as an individual, step out of their comfort zone and gain certain characteristics that one would not experience at home. Another positive feature of sleepaway camp is that it offers kids and teens a different perspective to the world, and they get to participate in many community service projects that they cannot do back at home. While these are all admirable factors that would certainly convince parents to send their kids to sleepaway camp, the dangers outweigh the positives, and will result in parents worrying more about their children’s safety, and knowing they are exposed to the various threats that sleepaway camp displays. 

Sleepaway camp has been illustrated to be this luxury vacation that everyone has to attend, or else, teenagers are seen as introverted and boring by their peers. Although it has its benefits, sleepaway camp should not be a task on every kid’s bucket list. However, more importantly, sleepaway camp is not for every kid, and it should be a personal decision that makes children want to go to sleepaway camp, not out of peer pressure. Not attending sleepaway camp over the summer should be more normalized, and if one does want to spend their summer away in an unpredictable atmosphere, consider every single aspect, positive and negative, of sleepaway camp before making your final decision.