Summer camp traditions alive and well in Lansing

By Dylan Sowle

We´ve all seen enough feel-good movies to know all about the traditional summer camp experience: long days of playing outside, arts and crafts, and heading down to the swimming hole before spending a night under the stars. This wonderfully timeless (and clichéd) tradition has stuck around, but it isn´t necessarily exclusive to campgrounds in the middle of nowhere any more. The Lansing area holds promise as a great destination for everything from classic summer camps, to new and exciting takes on the pastime.

A staggering amount of day camps pop up during summer in the Lansing area, encompassing just about every activity. Art classes, outdoor fun, and sports camps prove that living in the city doesn´t mean a quality summer camp is far away. Pools and aquatic centers take the place of lakes, and city parks do the job of the untamed wilderness. But although the methods might change, the sprit feels the same.

And a benefit of camp in the city is having so many options to choose from. As opposed to traditional catch-all camps, Lansing has a wide selection of specialty camps for specific interests. When you´ve got Pirate Camp, Web Design Camp, and Wrestling Camp all in the same 20-mile radius, it’s hard not to find something to like.

Even the much romanticized overnight experience, more elusive within city limits, is available through Michigan State University. Lodging at the dorms might not quite be a log cabin in the woods, but campers will get an equally exciting, and probably more comfortable, overnight camp stay.

And being a little closer to civilization, the possibilities for what summer camp can be are greatly expanded. Lansing´s thriving museums and theaters give new meaning to arts and crafts time, immersing campers in the culture that the city has to offer. Colleges, nature centers and galleries also get in on the camp trend, offering a bit more insight than perhaps your typical camp staff could.

So if you´re not heading out into the wild for camp this summer, chances are you´ll be able to find something great right down the street.