Camp facts that every parent needs to know!

Facts are proof.  Verifiable, evidence based proof.  I think they are great. I love facts.

But truth be told, they are a little boring. In fact they are quite dry. And without proper context, you get the bare bones information you need. We miss the exciting story and mission moment that goes along with the fact.

If I wanted to bore you with facts about the camp industry, I would share these facts (and admittedly great statistics provided by ACA research):

Camp Facts

  • Camp is a $18 billion dollar industry (2015 ACA Business Operations Report)
  • More than 14,000 day and resident camps exist in the U.S. 8,400 are resident (overnight) and 5,600 are day camps. (2017 ACA Sites, Facilities, Programs Report)
  • Since 2002, the number of ACA day camps has increased by 69% (CRM Camp Statistics Report, June 2013)
  • Camps employ more than 1,500,000 camp staff to work in various camp positions. (2013 ACA Camp Compensation and Benefits Report)

If I wanted to tell you about what parents think about camp I would share these facts:

According to ACA’s 2005 Directions: Youth Outcomes of the Camp Experience report, parents cite the following as the most important reasons for sending their children to camp:

  • Camp helps build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Camp is a safe environment
  • Camp is a place to build social skills and make friends

(All of my facts listed above can be found along with their sources here:

But alas, I would not be telling the whole story. I would be missing out on sharing the best facts about camp!

After extensive years of hands-on research, here are the facts that I know about camp:

  • Every year, our camps produce 1.4 million pounds in lost in found material.
    • 1 million pounds is in the form of reusable water bottles and towels.
    • A child named Oliver, is responsible for half of the lost items.
  • Every child is going to make a new friend at camp this summer!
    • However that child will not remember their friend’s name until week 3.
  • During archery activities this summer, someone will hit the bullseye.
    • Half of the campers will claim it was their shot.
    • The counselor who was responsible for hitting the bullseye will let the campers continue to believe they did it.
  • Nearly half our camps will lose swim time thanks to “Code Brown.”
    • Have I mentioned how much I love our Aquatics Directors? And our life guards?
  • A child will go home wearing two left shoes.
    • Mom will verify that they both belong to the camper.
    • But neither parent, camp staff, or review of the video surveillance at drop off can confirm if the camper came to camp that way.
  • “Little Red Wagon” will be sung no less than 1,000 times.
    • And it will not be enough for our campers.
  • Our camp staff will claim that this was their favorite year, and it was the best we have ever had.
    • The same claim we have been making since 1998.


Brian Shelley is the Senior Program Director for Day Camp at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. Brian can be reached at and encourages thoughts or feedback!