I have to admit I was a skeptic at first. Virtual camp–how would it possibly approximate the magic of summer camp? Some of my greatest childhood memories are from a place like the 14Y’s New Country Day Camp. Both of my daughters would say the same thing, as New Country Day Camp, and similar experiences, have been the bedrock of each of their summers over the past five years. During this most unorthodox of summers it felt the height of disappointment to deprive us all of our seasonal boon.
I shouldn’t have worried so much. From their first visit “…to the cloud,” to this week’s incredible enrichment selections, both of my daughters have loved their camp this summer. The girls and me have noted elements about Summer in the Cloud that we cherish for their resonance with the past experiences we’ve loved, and also aspects that surprisingly differ positively. For example:
Summer in the Cloud exhibits my daughters’ favorite attributes of summer camp. They are experiencing rich, exciting activities, and learning new skills daily. Particular favorites have been Graphic Design and Crazy Construction. Both electives left my daughters creating well into the afternoon. See these super cool “family logos” my daughter Lillian made.
Summer in the Cloud has been an opportunity to build new friendships, and relationships with inspiring role models. I was so pleased to hear my daughters brag about the new friends they met in group time, or the dance parties they had with Summer in the Cloud staff. More importantly, I was deeply appreciative of the many ways in which the educators clearly challenged, and inspired, my kids to explore subjects they were passionate about, and eager to learn more about.
Summer in the Cloud provides a surprisingly safe, novel way for children to challenge themselves. The virtual format of the program, the ability to practice off-screen, mute, or even turn off one’s camera at times, all clearly allow children to learn, practice, and try new things they might not necessarily be so eager to explore in the context of a typical day at camp. The virtual platform has some silver linings that include ameliorating perceived peer pressure, and allowing children with a diversity of skillsets and needs to learn at their own pace “off screen.”
While it hasn’t replaced in-person camp in our hearts, we’ve absolutely found Summer in the Cloud to be a solace during a difficult summer. In particular, watching my children sing, and dance, with so many other children at a Friday morning celebration warmed my heart. I’m not such a skeptic anymore: Rather, I signed them up for a few more weeks!