With summer around the corner, it’s time to think about swim camp. When my kids were younger, they loved going to swim camp at the University of Southern California. It was a big deal for them to be coached by an all-star staff and take photos with their Olympic heroes. I’ll admit I was concerned about them being away from home for the first time, but we all survived and they went again during the next few years. Something I didn’t expect was enjoying a quiet week off from day-to-day parenting. If you want to find out more about swim camps, check out universities and colleges nearby and read articles on SwimSwam.com that offer an overview of camps.
Some coaches are supportive of swim camps while others think it interrupts training schedules. Before you sign your kids up, find out what your coaches think about swimmers going away to camp. Be sure to ask when the best week would be for your swimmers to attend.
There are countless reasons to send your kids away to camp. Here are four reasons why I think they should go:
My kids made lifelong friends with kids at camp. Some were swimmers from their own team, competing teams, plus kids from all around the region and country. Being away from mom and dad and hanging out for a week at camp deepens the bonds between swimmers.
With emphasis on drills, underwater videos, and talks from Olympic swimmers about their experiences, my kids improved. There were several swim sessions a day with lots of work on strokes, turns, streamlines, etc. Being in a new environment with other swimmers created a competitive atmosphere and it pushed my kids to work a little harder. They came back from camp strong and enthusiastic.
If your kids attend a college or university swim camp, they’ll get a taste of what college life is like, in a protected, chaperoned way. They’ll meet college swimmers who’ll be coaching as well as live in a dorm, eat in the cafeteria and get a feel for the campus. I think this is an invaluable experience for youngers, who we hope will embrace swimming at the college level.
Hanging out with new and old friends at the pool, throughout the day and into the night can help kids stay motivated and excited about swimming. Camp counselors will supervise fun games and activities in and out of the pool. Experiencing a little independence can be a treat for our kids, too.
Why do you think kids should go to swim camp?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.