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A Glance Back at the History of Summer Camps...and a Long Look Ahead to the Future

girls working at computer coding laughing

Today marks our final day of summer camp for the 2012 season.  Hard to believe, right?  It seems like only yesterday I was posting about my favorite camp photos from our first week.

Now, summer of 2012 is another amazing, tech-filled memory.

Realizing that our 14th season would soon be in the books, we started thinking more about the history of summer camps in general, the evolution of industry, and how it all started years ago.  As the World’s #1 Technology Camp, and a leader among summer programs of all kinds, we thought it would be fun to take a closer look at our roots.

We found some pretty cool things.

For instance, the 1st organized summer camp in America was established in 1861 – a program where William Frederick Gunn and wife Abigail led a group of children into the wilderness for two weeks, to be immersed in the great outdoors.  Since then, there have been a variety of sports, science, space, scuba, and even secret agent camps for kids and teens to enjoy.

And what about computer camps?  They are definitely not to be forgotten, as technology already fuels so many different aspects of everyday life, and future projections are telling us that today’s reliance on tech is only the tip of the iceberg.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic and Statistics Administration is projecting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs to grow by 17% between 2008 and 2018, compared to only 9.8% for other occupations?  Or how about that “STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations,” as is also reported by the ESA?

These facts are among the many reasons why we think so highly of technology.  Not only is it fun for students to learn about iPhone app programming or how to create a video game, but these are the types of skills required by jobs of the future.

So, with all of what we uncovered about the history of summer camps (along with everything we know about where the industry is headed), we put together the following infographic.  It is made up of important dates in summer camp history and explains the significance of summer learning loss, while also touching on ways summer camps can be used to build competitive advantages.

All in all, while summer camps haven’t historically been linked to computers and technology, current trends suggest the strength of the new STEM direction.  Since day one, summer camps have been about teaching “survival” skills and building knowledge that isn’t typically found inside usual academic settings, and the future is sure to bring more of the same.