For most families, spring break has come and gone in a blink. This March looks vastly different than last year where spring break vacations and camps were the norm. Today, I’m welcoming a guest post from the American Camp Association on their virtual camps starting this week. I hope you'll find this list of ten free ACA virtual camps helpful. All camps listed below are available to join and enjoy immediately.

Ten Free ACA Virtual Camps for Kids:

Boys smiling at camp

For many families nationwide, Spring Break plans have quickly been altered by how quickly Coronavirus is sweeping the country. Although in-person events, camps and gatherings have been disbanded most everywhere, I’m excited to share ten American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Camps that are rallying to keep the camp experience accessible to kids right now by hosting ten free virtual camps.

Ten Free ACA Virtual Camp for Kids:

Girls out on the water at camp

Recognizing that with schools closing, childcare options at a minimum, and parents and caregivers are probably juggling working from home with providing activities for their kids, a number of ACA accredited camps have transformed their usual Spring Break camp to online. These virtual camps, run primarily through social media channels, YouTube and Zoom, include daily programming and parent resources. Activities vary from nature walks, science talks, arts and crafts, patches to earn at home, and homework help, all while allowing the kids to remain at home safely. 

Boys enjoying camp

“This was something we decided to do as our schools were closing here in Colorado and I saw a need among my friends who had kids. They were struggling and overwhelmed with the idea of what to do with their kids for two weeks at the last minute,” said Sandra Allen, Assistant Camp Director of Sky-High Ranch, of their decision to launch camp virtually. “Many were having vacations, trips, and more cancelled. We decided that it is an important time to step up and help offer ideas to families who need support, as well as support kids who are struggling with decisions that are beyond their control.”

Many of these camps are starting their online camp programs the week of March 24th, and we will update this list as more camps launch theirs. I’m happy to see one of my favorite local organizations, the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee at the top of the list, along with Whippoorwill camp based in Fairview Tennessee. 

Camp fun at Girl Scouts of Middle TN.

Ten Free ACA Virtual Camps for Kids:

  1. -Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee:  Tennessee
  2. -YMCA Camp Ernst :  Kentucky
  3. -Camp Stomping Ground: New York
  4. -Camp Kitaki:  Nebraska
  5. -Camp Brave Trails: LGBTQ: California & Maryland
  6. -St. Crispin's Summer Camp: Oklahoma
  7. -Lazy F: Washington
  8. -Girl Scouts of Colorado: Colorado
  9. -Camp Granite Lake: Colorado
  10. -Whippoorwill Farm Day Camp: Tennessee

These virtual camps are not just aimed at keeping all the benefits of attending camp alive in such a tumultuous present, but also to support one another no matter where they child is based.

"My ultimate goal is to ensure that this virtual camp is not marketed to any specific population of ‘campers’. Although this is being run through Girl Scouts of Colorado, I have been trying to ensure that our activities are gender-neutral and can be done by any age level. I want to engage kids in a variety of ways, offer parents some online resources, and provide connections with one another during this trying period,” Allen adds.

The Benefits of attending Camp:(on and offline):

The benefits of attending camp are now clearer than ever before, thanks to the ACA’s 5 Year Impact Study: a 5-year long research project looking into the effects of camp on their campers and how camps prepare youth for college, careers, and adulthood. Some of the key takeaways from the study were camp helps develop independence, experience outdoor fun and adventure and develop an affinity for nature, relaxation, accepting difference, living life unplugged and creating self-confidence. Plus, how to make a good S’more.

“Camp has helped me appreciate nature and the outdoors a lot more than I think I would have if I didn’t go. I can go without my phone or connection to social media awhile because camp has shown me that amazing stuff happens when you put your phone down and have a nice conversation with someone.” ~ Fifth-year camper

Adhering to CDC’s Guidelines now and in the future:

As with other businesses and industries, The ACA is playing close attention to the ongoing developments related to COVID-19, but at this time Camps are still working hard to prepare for a fun and educational summer ahead. The ACA will continue to follow the CDC's guidance as we provide the camp community with resources and education.  We encourage camps and families to use our webpage, Coronavirus – Information for Camps, for resources that include updated CDC information, FREE camp communicable disease webinars, Association of Camp Nursing responses and much more continuously updated content.  As of today, the ACA remains optimistic that camp will happen this summer.

Stay Safe, Stay Home:

I know you’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it here too, we really are all in this together! As more and more communities are required to stay home, I’ll do my best to add new resources for Moms to keep kids engaged. I’ll do my best to share some Mom fun ideas as well. 

I hope you found this free resource helpful and will share with you family and friends.

Please share in comments: Which camp do you think you’ll check out first?

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