Two girls use a sander to smooth out a summer project. (The Herald/Submitted Photo)

With the school year winding down and summer rapidly approaching, many area camps are making preparations for the nearing summer season.

One such camp which is gearing up for the influx on new attendees is Camp Arrowwood.

Arrowwood, which is located in Sevierville, currently has a higher enrollment than last year.

Seth Houser, the director for Arrowwood said he believes enrollment increases every year because of the positive testimony from former campers.

“Each summer, we have returning campers who bring along two or three of their friends,” Houser said.

To create this positive experience for campers, Houser said Arrowwood offers an array of activates such as horseback riding, tubing, archery, hiking, and a 56-foot climbing wall and ropes course.

“The area is full of natural beauty and exciting opportunity. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park provides an endless amount of traditional summer activity,” he said.

Arts and Crafts are a popular activity at most camps. (The Herald/Submitted Photo)

Although the wide range of actives provides campers with the opportunity to develop new skills, Houser said the most important reason for children to attend a camp is increase self-esteem.

Similarly, George Spier, Director of Smoky Mountain Adventure Camp, said the reason children should attended a summer camp is to develop independence, make new friends, and experience success on their own.

“Some of the activities that Smoky Mountain Adventure Camp will offer to reach these goals this summer are white water rafting, rock climbing, back packing and our end-of-the-year celebration in Gatlinburg,” Spier said.

While Spier said there hasn’t been a change in enrollment since last year, his camp is always full before it begins.

Keeping with the trend of quickly filling camps, Glenn Turner, the 4H UT Extension Agent for Sevier County, said the camp programs he coordinates have actually had to waitlist nearly 250 potential campers.

Campers have a fun time cooling off in a pool. (The Herald/Submitted Photo)

To accommodate the positive response, Turner has been working with 4H to keep offering a variety of activities at low costs so more people will be able to participate.

Workshops such as a $20 sewing class and a $5 photography class are just a few options available to 4H campers this summer.

“One of the unique things about camp is it gives children to opportunity to learn and do things they wouldn’t normally have the chance to,” Turner said. “4H likes to keep this tradition going.”

Even though traditional extended stay summer camps usually come to mind when approaching the subject of camps, day camps, such as Tate’s Day Camp, are also a major part of a child’s summer life.

“Day camp is a vital part of youth development,” said Tate’s Day Camp Executive Director Chris Strevel. “Group experiences in a controlled environment are a tremendous asset to character and self-esteem.”

Although a clear difference between an overnight camp and a day camp is that children return home every day, this development of a solid routine is also something that Strevel said can be beneficial for children.

“Day camps are convenient for working families and may pick-up where other camps have left off,” he said.

For more information regarding camps in our area go to www.thepowerofcamp.com

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