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What is the best age to go to sleepaway summer camp?

The best age to go to sleepaway or overnight summer camp is a mixed question, with many possible answers.

Summer camp fosters personal growth, builds lasting friendships, and creates lifelong memories. Being away from our families in a safe setting leads to quicker growth and development of life's necessary skills.

The ideal age for attending summer camp varies based on individual needs and preferences. Here are some considerations:

Early Childhood (Ages 5-9):

Pros: Young campers benefit from exposure to nature, outdoor activities, and structured play. They develop social skills, independence, and resilience.

Cons: Missing home may be more common at this age. Camps with shorter durations are recommended.

Pearce Williams offers a 3 day session for ages 5-9, or 5 day sessions for ages 7-9.

Pre-Teens (Ages 10-12):

Pros: Pre-teens thrive in a camp environment. They engage in team sports, arts, and adventure activities. Friendships deepen, and self-confidence grows - helping to build the resiliency that will help them through the challenges of life away from camp.

Cons: Longer camps may lead to occasional missing home.

Pearce Williams offers 5 day sessions for ages 10-12.

Teenagers (Ages 13-15):

Pros: Teens benefit from specialized camps (e.g., leadership, arts, or sports). They explore passions, build skills, and form lifelong bonds. They begin to see what passions they are interested in and how they best interact with others.

Cons: Peer dynamics and peer expectations play a significant role.

Pearce Williams offers 5 day sessions for ages 13-15 with specialized Leader-in-Training session, a Youth Camp week just for older kids, and a 3 week Counsellor-In-Training program for 15 year old's.

Young Adults (Ages 16+):

Pros: Young adults can work as camp staff. They gain leadership experience and contribute to the camp community.

Cons: Limited availability of age-appropriate programs.

Pearce Williams hires summer staff who are 16+ to be part of our summer camp team. Roles include camp counsellor, camp leader, kitchen assistants, programmers, lifeguards and more.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when is the best time to send your child to overnight or sleepaway camp.

As a parent you should consider your child’s maturity, interests, and desired camp experience. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows by the fire, learning to shoot archery, or sleeping outside under the stars for the first time - summer camp memories will last a lifetime!

Dreaming of Camp,



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