Not A College Town – A Camp Town
Most of us born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania know we have a large number of summer camps in our region, but do we really know their huge impact? Often, the only time camp is noticed is when the grocery stores are chock-full of young people. What goes on past the gated grounds and rustic camps signs simply remains a mystery to many local residents.
As America’s largest insurer of summer camps, at AMSkier we’re lucky to be close to the magic of camp, while also being local. Since we’re part of both worlds, we think it’s only fitting of us to share some of summer camp culture with others.
The Wayne County camps surrounding us all have a passion for sending home a “better and more-prepared child” at the end of summer. A summer camp experience can help a child feel more successful, can help them make new friends and gain new skills. Summer camp can encourage children to get along better with others and help them understand what they’re good at.
Our local Wayne County camps emphasize values and independence and each is focused on developing these characteristics in their own unique way. Ask a child who went to summer camp about their experience, and they’re likely to say it is life-changing. Children spend their day being physically active and unplugged from technology, making lifelong friends, experiencing independence and taking part in activities otherwise largely unavailable to them. Camp is a truly tangible experience. Camp encourages children to utilize all their senses and is a communal environment where kids learn to love living by the sound of a bugle call.
Often, one of the quintessential and most iconic activities of the entire camp experience is Color War. After a few days of unity and togetherness, camps are divided into separate teams where campers compete in activities all around camp – from basketball, boating and soccer to trivia contests, rope burn and apache relay. The beginning of Color War is marked by a moment called “Breakout,” where a theatrical display of events result in a surprise announcement of the team colors. Campers are usually buzzing as Breakout gets closer, always guessing what day, hour and minute it will take place. Usually, this happens in the last couple weeks of camp and Color War marks the beginning of the end: it’s sad but exciting and thrilling, and is truly the pinnacle of the summer!
In Wayne County, we can be proud not only of the countless childhood memories and life lessons being made in our mountains, forests and lakes, but also the positive effect these summer camps have on our local economy. The average camp has been a mainstay of the Pocono economy for 66 years, and most are among the most successful and well-established camps in the country. There are 32 summer camps within a 30-mile radius in Wayne County alone.
These camps, though they consume relatively little in the way of services, are an extraordinarily large and important part of the tax base for all localities where they are situated. In fact, local taxes paid to school districts, counties and municipalities averaged $101,306 per camp ($66,233 to schools, $23,073 to counties and $12,000 to municipalities).
Towns are often so proud of their local universities. In Northeast Pennsylvania, we embrace ourselves as a camp region, with pride in the value summer camps bring to the children they serve and our local economy.
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