Sleepaway camp really hearkens back to a simpler time, doesn't it? Besides being a place where kids go screen free for weeks at a time in favor of splashing in lakes and singing around campfires, here's a real community feeling at overnight camp that allow kids to forge bonds that often last a lifetime. Luckily, you don't have to drive far to get your kiddo settled at a fantastic sleepaway camp. Read on for some of our favorite sleepaway camps that are located right here in Connecticut.
Looking for more summer camp options? Check out our Connecticut Summer Camp Guide and full Camp Directory and Listings.
Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp—New Milford
Not all camps are archery and bug juice (do they still have bug juice?) Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp is a sleepaway camp with a very specific mission. It's one that's been around since the early 1940s and draws creative campers from across the country. Every year kids aged nine to 18 are encouraged to unleash their creativity in over 30 fully equipped studios. The staff are top of the heap and amazing things happen at Buck's Rock.
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Buck's Rock is for kids who seriously love the stage. Photo courtesy of Buck's Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp
Camp Awosting sits on the shores of beautiful Bantam Lake in the Litchfield Hills and it's been this way for 118 years. No more than 170 boys stay in one of 16 cabins with at least two counselors per cabin. At this informal and friendly camp, every camper is introduced to all of the activities during the morning instructional program. During the afternoon elective periods, campers choose their activities. The 20-acre campus offers plenty of traditional ball sports as well as swimming, canoeing, sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and riding go-karts. They also have a climbing tower and zip line, martial arts, fencing, photography, video production, ceramics, drama and a wood shop.
Camp Chinqueka is Camp Awosting's sister camp. Since 1955 this is where the girls go to get their camp fix. The camp sits on Mt. Tom Pond in Litchfield County. Campers stay in cabins with girls their own age and two counselors live in each cabin with the campers. Campers are encouraged to try everything at more than 30 activity areas, include swimming, canoeing, sailing, dance, go-karts, martial arts, fencing, photography, video production, ceramics, music, drama and lots of sports. There is a climbing tower and zip line.
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Camp Hazen YMCA—Chester
Camp Hazen's program offers more than just a summer experience. This camp says they provide "skills that kids will use forever," so counselors really focus on teaching kids how to build community, make friends, and develop resilience and independence.
Photo courtesy of Camp Sloane YMCA
Camp Jewell YMCA
This nationally recognized resident camp program provides youth, ages seven to 16, with an opportunity to build meaningful and lifelong friendships with fellow campers and staff. Campers focus on developing independence, a variety of skills, and respect for the environment. The weekends bring special all-camp activities ranging from carnivals to Camp Olympics, or the World Series of Wiffleball. Plus, there’s time each day for siesta where campers have some quiet time to read a book, hang out with friends, and write letters home.
Camp Sloane YMCA
Since 1928, Camp Sloane campers have enjoyed the fun, camaraderie and yes, even the comfort of tent camping in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains. Tent camping is what makes this YMCA camp unique. Campers enjoy programs like crew/rowing, water skiing, and culinary arts during their stay.
Campers at Greenwood Trails are strongly encouraged to choose their own adventure. Days consist of six 50-minute sessions largely chosen by the campers themselves. There are goal-oriented programs that offer campers the chance to excel in four areas, athletics, aquatics, adventure, and art. What's more? Campers are encouraged to fail because at Greenwood Trails FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning. What an amazing lesson in this age of perfection.
Photo courtesy of Farm Camp at SJ
Farm Camp at SJ
SJ has a few camp options, all aimed at animal lovers. The equestrian camp fills up quickly and is already booked with a waiting list for 2018, but Farm Camp still has spots available. Campers can go for the day or overnight for one to three weeks. Days are filled with farm chores and animal encounters. Talk about a classic childhood experience.
Camp Kenmont & Kenwood
These sibling camps, Kenmont for the boys and Kenwood for the girls, have been staples in the Connecticut summer scene since 1924. Here campers foster independence and build character through strong role models and classic camp activities.
It's girls only at this YMCA camp in Litchfield. In addition to the kind of community you can only find at summer camp and all the requisite outdoor activities, Mohawk also boasts an equestrian center with 22 horses.
Originally published in 2012
Top photo courtesy of Camp Awosting.