summer camp activities


Amplify isn’t just an average rock camp, it isn’t just about the music, it isn’t just about anything, but to me… it’s everything.”—Gracie, 8-year returning camper

Let’s go beyond the obvious reason of camp is SUPER FUN!


Getting to know someone is a delicate dance. Among most adults, and especially women, far too often the loudest instinct is to compare: our appearances, incomes, hobbies, even favorite foods (Darling, Why Celebrating Other Women Makes You More Successful). What am I doing wrong that she and I are so different? We steer straight to feeling envious and threatened, awakening a harmful sense of competitiveness when we could instead be nurturing the mindset of celebrating our differences and lifting each other up.

…nurturing the mindset of celebrating our differences and lifting each other up…

Effective interaction and communication are among the most beneficial life-long skills kids learn in any group setting. In the removed, supportive environment of sleep away camps, youth get a highly concentrated chance to build up their face-to-face communication and relationship skills. Why is healthy social bonding not only fun, but crucial for long-term success? Because supporting and advocating for others encourages others to return the favor.

If the prospect of your kid missing out on a few weeks of swim practice or tutoring, rest assured knowing that those accomplishments could never outweigh the life-long value of forming confident relationship skills at sleep away camp. From backflipping into the pool to writing songs together, the supportive interpersonal skills youth develop at camp will be the very same guiding them through classes, careers, and communities.


For some, the idea and act of trying new things fills us with joy and a sense of limitless possibility. These are your solo backpackers, your bungee jumpers, your blowfish eaters. For most, we rarely get even close to that because trying new things is terrifying. From a very young age, children begin categorizing which areas around them are “safe” and which are “hazardous,” thus molding sometimes life-long, impenetrable comfort zones (Medium, Analyzing Comfort Zones).

Sleep away camp is a fool-proof way to guarantee kids do something outside of their usual routine (unless they usually spend every night without their phones alongside dozens of other burping, giggling, singing kids, which is of course entirely possible)—and love it. Aside from the exciting, bubbly group dynamic of sleeping/eating/etc. with peers instead of parents, camps offer the chance to try new, alien activities like DJing or screen printing without the fear of failure or embarrassment.

When kids are surrounded by others in the same exact boat of not knowing what they’re doing or where they stand in this new social hierarchy, it becomes much easier to see the relative safety (not to mention benefits) of challenging themselves. Sleep away camp shines an extended light on the reality that we can “overcome hurdles and obstacles, and actually succeed in accomplishing something new and challenging” (Psychology Today, 5 Benefits of Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone). Knowing how to healthily leave comfort zones when it’s time to transition, grow, and transform serves youth for the rest of their lives.


I was nervous, and I didn’t really know how it would go or who I would meet, but the second we started our instrument…


“It takes a village” indeed, and yet this beloved adage barely scratches the surface of what it takes to give kids “enough” attention and dedication to excel in life. Regardless of the vast curriculum changes schools have made to address the shifting global workforce, there may always be a gap between the skills and facts that schools test for and the skills and facts that we need to succeed in a tense boardroom meeting, a miscommunication with our spouse, a gridlocked freeway.

Even MIT students can get into one of the best universities in the world…without knowing how to effectively apply for jobs or lead a group as an introvert (MIT News, Learning life skills). While schools may not be actively reinforcing grit, resilience, or leadership on a daily basis, these life skills are often camps’ sole purpose. However, instead of seeing improved report cards at the end of the week or month, parents see transformed personal characters: kids excited to take over the family laundry for the week, kids unafraid to recommend program changes to the school principal.

Youth have the space and encouragement to truly grow when immersed in an environment away from parents, teachers, even bossy siblings. Living on their own and securing their own resources at sleep away camp makes kids that much more comfortable with being independent, responsible decision-makers: versatile life skills that will benefit them at home, college, and beyond.


“Can you, um…come pick me up?” is a sentence we all look forward to hearing our kid mumble from a slumber party gone awry, right? Wrong. But there’s no denying that kids manage to find risky situations like pigs find truffles. Activities that may seem clearly insane to adults are just plain awesome to the developing youth brain.

This is because, for most of the tween and teen years, ongoing changes in the brain make us far more aware of and focused on the rewards—as opposed to the consequences—of any given action, but especially actions involving peers (Psychology Today, Why Are Teen Brains Designed for Risk-taking?). With the natural urge to ingratiate themselves with and impress the “cool crowd” being so strong in kids, it helps to give them spaces where they can “flex” more safely. Sleep away camp provides them an environment that both satisfies their growing need for peer-driven sensation and limits their exposure to extreme, unsupervised behaviors. For example, going on a night hike with an experienced, prepared adult instructor allows them to indulge their cravings for exciting, social freedom.

Instead of hoping that a rigorous academic schedule will keep youth so busy that they don’t have time or energy to engage in questionable activities, we can help them try crazy, daring things that aren’t dangerous. Sleep away camp is the perfect setting to both nurture and encourage youth as they push themselves toward self-discovery and also protect them from the real, permanent harm that they may not yet be able to see.


From reality TV to this season’s new hit drama, pop culture doesn’t always give positive young role models enough (or any…) airtime. Even away from screens, sitting in the middle of World Geography class, whom do you think kids are all whispering about? The classmate who just got early acceptance into a competitive summer internship, or the classmate who just got suspended for smoking behind the locker rooms? It’s amazing how easily trends like this can seep into kids’ subconscious as effective ways to get the attention they need, even well into adulthood.

Spending a few weeks learning from and laughing with tons of confident, exemplary staff teaches youth that attention still comes to those who make good decisions and take care of themselves. Instead of taking the glamorous, instantly gratifying route of emulating dysfunctional young role models, youth immersed in sleep away camp grow to love and imitate their hard-working and supportive—but still wacky and exciting—counselors.

No matter which Amplify creative immersive you’re interested in, our counselors, instructors, and all staff are guaranteed to be helpful, ambitious, curious, independent, welcoming…maybe not adjectives that describe whichever reality TV star made it onto the tabloid covers this week, but certainly not bad for ways you could soon be describing your evolving kiddo.