Summer camp: segregated by gender; or co-ed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-16-2013, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to a girls' camp every year as a preteen/teen, and I LOVED it. It was a really great experience.

So now I'm considering summer camp for my daughter, and there is either GIrl Scouts, or a co-ed camp that my daughter wants to do more (not because it's co-ed, that's just a coincidence. I think it's just the cool place to camp. It's also more expensive, of course, as cool things tend to be. LOL)

I liked it being just girls as we got more teenish because it is more a camping experience and less a "which boy do you like best" romance thing. I just feel like it's a different experience, being with just girls. No competition over boys, and less worrying about hair and clothing and apperance.

But maybe I'm old fashioned? What do you think? My daughter is just a pre-teen at this point, so it isn't much of an issue now anyway, but in the teen years it'll be more so.

The co-ed camp does have a lot of great activities that don't seem to be offered at our Girl Scout camp anyway. It is quite a bit more money, but that money seems to go for some nice stuff. And the money isn't a deciding factor for me.
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#2 of 11 Old 02-16-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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Hmmmm, tough choice.  I think it depends not only on your daughter, but the developmental stage of the other kids.  My 13 year old has friends who are boys, and in general I think it helps to encourage friendship with boys so we don't always have to have this divide of boys vs. girls with the idea that they aren't generally friends, it always has to be romantic.  But then if that culture is happening anyway, I don't know.  I never dated in high school or college, so the male friends I had were generally just friends, but then there was also this feeling at times where I felt like as a girl I was not seen as valuable because I had not romantic potential, so, meh, you know, that all can mess with your head.  

 

My daughter and many of her friends are still not interested in dating.  But at the same time, if it creates an uncomfortable dynamic where kids are just trying to impress each other romantically, yeah, she might not get as much out of it.

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#3 of 11 Old 02-16-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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Personally, I'd go with a co-ed camp for my eldest because she has always connected far better with boys than girls. Being in camp with all girls would be a bit torturous. My son would probably prefer an all boys camp though. 

 

I'd go with whatever your own child would prefer.

 

I went to a fancy co-ed music camp and had a fantastic time.


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#4 of 11 Old 02-16-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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I think it depends a whole lot on you and your child.

 

I went to a co-ed camp starting at age 8 or 9.  While I am sure that some campers had more wholesome experiences, mine as both a camper and counselor were definitely NOT what I would want my own children doing.  It was an ACA-accredited, very well-regarded camp.


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#5 of 11 Old 02-17-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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Funny, my reflexive reaction when I read the thread title was to choose co-ed. DD speaks happily about her co-ed camp experiences which is probably why it was my instinctive first choice. My next thought, however, was that an all-girls camp probably has some benefits. I think you have a good point about avoiding the teen romance angle. I also think there is some truth that girls have a little more room to develop leadership skills etc. in the absence of boys. 

 

DS attended co-ed residential camps. He had fun and overall I think they were good experiences. The camp he attended as a young teen, and later worked as a counsellor, was a music camp. I think the fact that the campers were all involved in their music and working on improving their skills might have made some difference toward how they saw each other and worked together.  

 

DD attended co-ed camps and an all-girls camp. The girls' camp was a horse-riding camp. I think that alone made it a great experience for her. I'm laughing a little about not fussing over hair and make-up at camp when there are no boys around, because some of those girls were foul.... I don't think they even brushed their teeth, nevermind their hair, and clean clothes were not to be seen. Thankfully, DD didn't descend to that level while she was there. I'm sure the other girls all survived though. 

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#6 of 11 Old 02-17-2013, 08:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

DS attended co-ed residential camps. He had fun and overall I think they were good experiences. The camp he attended as a young teen, and later worked as a counsellor, was a music camp. I think the fact that the campers were all involved in their music and working on improving their skills might have made some difference toward how they saw each other and worked together.  

 

 

Yes, I think camp focus plays a role in the experience. When I went to music camp, we played in a structured setting for 8 hours a day. If you wanted to keep up, you practiced another 2 hours on your own. We were all pretty exhausted and so, no time for romance lol. I didn't get to know many people outside my dorm and my theory class. Fantastic experience but not a lot of free time to get in trouble.


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#7 of 11 Old 02-18-2013, 01:44 PM
 
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My oldest daughter is a sports nut; she was the only girl on an NFL flag football team. In grammar school, when it was time for recess, she was the one playing sports with the boys, not talking boys with the girls. However, for school, she decided on an all-girls' school, and she loves it. I would ask your daughter which one she would prefer. She may surprise you.

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#8 of 11 Old 02-18-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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I think its better to choose the camp experience she wants rather the gender of the other kids.

 

My DD went to engineering camp last summer and had a great time. It was about 3/4 boys. The girls were more concerned about beating the boys in design challenges than looking cute. thumb.gif

 

My DD tends to find a lot of girls her age annoying, especially in groups. Most of her friends are boys.
 


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#9 of 11 Old 02-18-2013, 11:30 PM
 
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i'd suggest the coed camp too. esp. if your dd as a preteen prefers boys to girls (not in the cute sense but in the get along better sense).

 

has she gone for a Girl Scout camp before. if she has she probably is tired of it. i have a mature preteen and she kinda finds stuff like GS camp kinda boring or childish even though they have great activities. somehow she does better away from girls these days. 


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#10 of 11 Old 02-19-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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I think you should pick whichever camp has the best activities for your DD regardless of the sex of the other campers. My kids aren't teens yet, but my DD5 is going to her first summer camp this year because I'm such a huge fan of them. (she's doing 1/2 day coed circus camp in another town.) I went to summer camps every year growing up. Sometimes I went to two or three depending on how the schedules worked out that summer, and there were many years I went to camps for spring break and winter break. I loved going to camp because of the experiences and activities that I got to participate in. I got to discover more about things I was really passionate about.

For me Girl Scout camp was awesome not because there were no boys, but because we got to go caving, repelling, and do the ropes course. For me Space camp wasn't awesome because there were boys there, but because I got to see real stuff that had been in space, take part in a mock mission to mars, and I got to make oodles of different kinds of rockets. Arts camp wasn't awesome because there were boys in the classes, but because I got to use a real dark room, learned to play House of the Rising Sun on the guitar, and learned about printmaking - which I didn't even know what it was before I walked into the class.

Believe me, I understand that there are rewarding experiences to be had in same sex groups. I was in Girl Scouts, on an all girls swim team, and in an all girls ballet class at diffent points in my childhood. I also had tons of times hanging out, having sleepovers, and going on adventures with just the girls. I did also attend day and sleep-away camps with only girls too. But, honestly my disposition was that I didn't care if I was at camps for girls or girls and boys. If there was a boy sitting next to me in a painting class, or a girl waiting behind me to go down the zip line it didn't take away or truly add aything to the experience. The important thing was that I was painting or I was going down the zipline.

Plus, even at co ed sleep away camps there are times with only girls. I never went to a camp where we wern't segregated for bedtime. So, we got in pjs together, showered and brushed our teeth together, and spent some hours at night before bed hanging out, and after lights out whispering in the dark. The next morning we all got ready for the day together and spent time before breakfast together as well. Plus, at certain camps there were classes that only girls attended, whether forced segregated or just by interests.

I guess what I'm really trying to say with all of this is that for me what camp should be about is what she's doing, rather than who she's doing it with. Camp should be a bonus time to try out new experiences and follow dreams. I think that if you want your daughter to have positive same sex experiences you CAN find that at an all girl summer camp, but you can ALSO find it at other times during the year, and even while in a co-ed camp setting as well.

I hope my experiences help you to come to a decision. My appologies for the novel.

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#11 of 11 Old 02-19-2013, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your input! We did decide upon the co-ed one. The activities and facilities are so nice that I'm sure it'll be a great experience for her.

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