Family camping: A great way to bring together the family

Summer fun is still happening, but how about taking the family on a campout?

There is lots of summer left to take the family on a camp out or attend a family camp. Whether it be for a weekend excursion or actually trying a week-long family camp, there is still time to engage in this activity.

What is family camp? By the 1960s, camping had become an established family holiday standard of packing up the kids and camp gear and taking off into the wild. Specialty family camps are also available, where you go to a camp setting and daily activities are in place for the kids and then when evening comes, the families all come together. Or, maybe the whole camp setting is focused on horses and you learn about horses morning, noon and night.

Not only are you having fun with the family and making new friends, but family camps are also a time for making memories, being together in an outdoor setting, trying new activities and new experiences—this is what family and camping are all about.

I had the chance to try out a family camp recently. Even though I only stayed for a couple of days, I felt like I was experiencing the old, traditional family camp—you know, where the family moves in for a week-long experience, they check into their lodging or dormitory, get the week-long schedule of activities for each child and have each meal together in a large dining room setting.

In the family camp I attended, adults went off on their own and participated in adult activities while the children’s activities were run by teenagers and young adults. A huge sandbox was available for the younger kids to play in, and tennis courts, shuffleboard, Nine-square, basketball, a big softball game, hiking on the dunes and crafts were available for all. All we had to bring was clothing, as everything else was furnished. The family campfire was held at night where singing around the campfire happened and s’mores were shared.

Michigan State University Extension has resources for family experiences and camping is just one activity to bring together the family.

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children to success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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