The Meaning of Summer Camp

It used to be about acquiring survival skills. Now it's the social skills that need work

Stephanie Rausser / Iconica / Getty

I never went away to camp, even though--or maybe because--my father became president of the American Camping Association (ACA) when I was a kid. He liked to joke that my idea of camping was room service. I might have resented this had it been any less true.

I suspected it was time to send my daughter off to camp even before the day the power went out in our neighborhood and she and a hungry friend tried to roast a hot dog over a candle. Absent electricity, they spent the days making ankle bracelets and playing board games and writing a...

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