The tradition of organized summer camps is a genuinely American phenomenon. As American’s have shared this cultural tradition with their friends around the world, there is great intrigue and a resulting perception of opportunity. When sharing information about our industry in other countries we often hear, “That really doesn’t happen here and we wish it would.”
International families that are looking for safe environments to foster independent travel experiences for their children often find American Summer Camps to be a wonderful solution. The depth and breadth of summer camps in the US offer everything from traditional camp activities, to specialized sports camps to travel program and even computer and academic offerings – all in summer camp settings filled with fun, recreation and friendships.
The great value of the American Summer Camp lies in their goal of offering children the chance to grow and develop life skills focused around the independence of a summer away from Mom and Dad. For International families it may be the chance to practice another language or become familiar with the adaptability required of world travelers.
Back in 1922, Robert Delehanty founded Camp Monomoy while teaching at Worcester Academy, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. Del’s school population had a number of boys from South America at the time who found it too difficult to travel back home for the summer. Del and a partner purchased property on Cape Cod and began a summer camp for these boys. The success of those humble beginnings continues today with children gathering from around the world to create a unique community each summer.
The Cape Cod Sea Camps – Monomoy and Wono continue to enjoy the loyalty of a core of international families who send their children and grandchildren to Cape Cod for a summer of purposeful fun. About 10% of the CCSC camper population reside outside the US and represent about 15 different countries on any given year. The value of the dollar and the tendency of late requests by international prospects will determine if this is higher or lower on any given year.
An interesting trend we have noticed is that decisions of when to send campers away to camp may be rooted in cultural trends within countries. We find that families from Japan, China, Latin America and the Caribbean like to develop this independence at younger ages while families from Europe will begin looking to the American Summer Camp experience at ages 12 and up. In the US, families that have grown up with a camp culture will send their children away as soon as they feel they are ready.
As the world becomes a smaller place and social problems seem more universal in nature, having children live and grow in environments of diverse cultures with caring supervision, becomes ever more important in developing citizens of the world. The friends and contacts that campers and staff make during their summers at the Cape Cod Sea Camps are not easily forgotten and often drawn upon in adulthood. Thankfully, the summer camp experience is not a genuine microcosm of the world, it is much more civilized.