What is a Traditional Summer Camp?

A traditional summer camp today may look a lot like a traditional summer camp from a hundred years ago.
circa 1930, Camp Jeanne d’Arc

What Is a Traditional Summer Camp?

When you think of a traditional summer camp, you may think of the movie “Parent Trap” or of an old black and white photo from a hundred years ago; and although both of those may classify as traditional summer camps, there is a bit more to the story.


A traditional summer camp usually follows a standard structure. This would include overnight camping, ranging from one-week to the entire summer. A traditional camp places emphasis on spending time in the great outdoors, and exploring and appreciating nature. Campers traditionally sleep in a tent, in a rustic cabin, or in a sleeping bag under the stars. Some traditional camps allow for all three! 

A traditional summer camp may include activities like waterskiVariety of Activities

A traditional summer camp offers a wide range of activities, verses a camp the specializes in just one sport or activity. Traditional activities could include archery, canoeing, sailing, fire building, campfire, arts & crafts, bracelet making, hiking, and horseback riding. The benefit to many choices, is that campers are exposed to different activities, allowing them to discover interests they may not know they have.

Unique Culture

A traditional summer camp may include a ceremony like feather picking Every summer camp has collected traditions over time. For some this may be meaningful ceremonies, camp songs and dances, team mascots and colors, chants and cheers, yearly parties and banquets, etc. The variety of cultural activities varies greatly from one camp to another.


Every camp, whether they know it or not, has a set of values. It’s very important to understand a camp’s history, mission, and values before selecting a camp. Traditional camps usually have a strong set of camp values that harkens back to an early time when the camp was first established.

Camp Jeanne d’Arc, All Girls Camp

Camp Jeanne d’Arc is an all girl traditional summer camp in Upstate New York. Since 1922, it’s mission has been to empower girls. With Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) as the role model, campers are reminded that faith, endurance, courage, and confidence will grow their strength.