Seeking Adventure at Sleep Away Camp in Connecticut

Where to send your kids to reclaim childhood in the name of camp!

Childhood in the 21st century is...complicated. Kids these days are so scheduled and responsible for lots of things, sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day to just be a kid. But at summer camp? Those rules do not apply. No way no day. Summer camp is possibly the last bastion of pure childhood freedom, a place where you're allowed to go fishing and shoot arrows and stay up late around a campfire. There's a real community feeling at sleep away camp like you just don't find many other places these days. This is also one of the last remaining rites of passage for kids these days, their first grasp of sweet, sweet freedom. Did I mention it's sleep away camp? So it's also your first grasp of sweet, sweet freedom. Hello? Happy hour anyone? Good grief what did we do with all our time before children...anyway.  Also, be sure to check out our CT Summer Camp Guide and our Summer Camp Directory..

Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp
OK. OK. So maybe not all summer camps are just archery and bug juice (do they still have bug juice?) Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp is a sleep away 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 9-18 head to this New Milford camp 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. 

Bucks Rock Road, New Milford, CT 860.354.5030

Photo courtesy of Buck's Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp

Camp Awosting
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 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. Sports include basketball, baseball, soccer volleyball, football, lacrosse, rugby, cricket, and track & field.

296 West Street Morris, CT 860.567-4924

Camp Chinqueka
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 spread out across the camp. Activities include swimming, canoeing, sailing, dance, and go-karts. There is a climbing tower and zip line, martial arts, fencing, photography, video production, ceramics, music, and drama. Sports include basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and gymnastics.

296 West Street, Morris, CT 860.567-4924

Camp Hazen YMCA
Camp Hazen offers more than just a summer experience. This camp says they provide "skills that kids will use forever" and I believe it. Because camp isn't just about learning to carve or three-legged races, it also teaches some serious life skills. In an age where we often interface with machines more than humans, camp is a place where kids learn how to live as part of a community, make friends, and develop the resilience and independence they'll need to make it in this world. 

204 West Main Street, Chester, CT 860.526.9529

Photo courtesy of Camp Sloane YMCA

Camp Jewell YMCA
This nationally recognized resident camp program provides youth, ages 7-16, with an opportunity to build meaningful and lifelong friendships with fellow campers and staff. Campers become part of a dynamic camp community that fosters independence, skill building, 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.

6 Prock Hill Road, Colebrook, CT 860.379.2782

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.

124 Indian Mountain Road, Lakeville, CT 860.435.2557

Greenwood Trails
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.

390 Winchester Road, Winstead, CT 06098  860-379-6517

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.

130 Sandy Beach Road, Ellington, CT 06029  860-872-4742

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.

65 Kenmont Road, Kent, CT 06757  845-262-1090

Camp Mowhawk
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. 

246 Great Hill Road, Litchfield, CT 06759  800-842-1143



Originally published 2/13/12.
Cover photo courtesy of Camp Awosting.