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TueNov 19

National Camp Day – November 19, 2024

What is National Camp Day?

Grab your hot dogs and marshmallows — November 19 is National Camp Day. According to a survey by the ACA Youth Outcomes Battery, 96% of campers make new friends at camp and 70% gain self-confidence during a camp experience. Whether it was summer camp or a family trip, we have lots of wilderness memories. 

History of National Camp Day

Recreational camping can be traced back to Briton Thomas Hiram Holding, but it was popularized in the UK on the river Thames. In the 1880s large numbers of visitors took part in camping, which related to the late-Victorian craze for pleasure boating. Early camping equipment was heavy, so it was more convenient to transport it by boat or transportation craft that could be converted into a tent. 
Though Holding is seen as the father of camping, he’s responsible for popularizing a different form of camping in the UK. In his youth, he experienced activity in the wild and spent time in the American prairies with his parents. He later embarked on a cycling and camping tour across Ireland with some friends. His book, “Cycle and Camp in Connemara,” led to the formation of the first camping group in 1901, the Association of Cycle Campers — which later became the Camping and Caravanning Club. In 1908 Holding wrote “The Campers Handbook ” so that he could share his enthusiasm for the outdoors with the rest of the world.
In the 1870s and 1880s the first summer camps promised boys a chance to escape the indoors and fast-paced urban life. Girls camps started to appear in the U.S. around 1900, many of which were located around New England. The oldest and continuously run camp for girls is Camp Wyonegonic in Maine, which opened in 1902. In 1900, there were less than 100 summer camps in the U.S., but by 1918 over 1,000 were in operation. 

National Camp Day timeline

Camp statue

The “Essence of Camping” statue is built to recognize and continue the camp experience legacy. The statue stands in front of the ACA National Office in Martinsville, Indiana.

Girl Scouts unite!

The first Girl Scout camp is held in Savannah, Georgia.

'Be Prepared'

Boy Scouts of America and Camp Fire USA are founded.

The 'father' of camping

Thomas Hiram Holding publishes his book "The Campers Handbook." 

National Camp Day FAQs

What day is National Camp Day?

National Camp Day comes around annually on November 19! Take the time to escape from modern society and connect to nature. 

Why is summer camp important?

Summer camp offers a structured opportunity for kids to socialize, grow, and learn new skills. 

What does being 'camp' mean?

Being “camp” often means to be very theatrical and effeminate, with over-the-top mannerisms. 

National Camp Day Activities

  1. Sign up your kids

    Camp can have a profound and lasting impact on kids — which is why you can celebrate National Camp Day by signing your children up for their favorite summer/church/band camp! They’ll have the time of their lives, and you’ll get some much-needed relaxation.

  2. Go back to camp

    Did you know they have adult summer camps? That’s right - no kids allowed. Check out "Camp No Counselors" (as seen on Shark Tank) and other grown-up camps to unleash your inner kid.

  3. Support the cause

    Your camp days may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help someone else make their camp dreams come true. Donate money to a boy or girl you know who would love the camp experience. You can also donate to your favorite summer/sleepaway camp, or support a camping organization like the American Camp Association.

​3 Weird Facts About Summer Camp

  1. ​Cupcake, Olive, Cherry, Crackers, Chocolate Chips, Beans, Sugar, Raisin Bread

    That’s the combination of ingredients one summer camper ate on a dare (we all have our regrets).

  2. Camp is no longer “normal”​

    ​Circus Arts Camp, Hollywood Stunt Camp, Wizards & Warriors Camp, RPG Video Game Camp — there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

  3. ​Your favorite celebs went to summer camp

    ​Adam Levine, Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, and Jonah Hill all either worked at or went to summer camp.

Why We Love National Camp Day

  1. You create lasting memories

    Campouts, counselors, camp food, making s’mores, dancing, singing, lighting fires, playing games, exploring the great outdoors — the list goes on. Whatever camp you join, you’re sure to have an awesome time and make a ton of great memories in the process.

  2. You often become a better person

    Did you know Whoopi Goldberg went to summer camp when she was a kid? She says she learned that we are all equal and that we all have something to offer. She also says camp gave her the confidence to speak to people, look people in the eye, and truly listen to them.

  3. Camp doesn’t have to be expensive

    Did you know 93% of ACA-accredited camps offer scholarship assistance? There really is a camp out there for every budget. And by reaching out for information now, you’ll more likely be able to visit the camp of your dreams.

National Camp Day dates

2024November 19Tuesday
2025November 19Wednesday
2026November 19Thursday
2027November 19Friday
2028November 19Sunday

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