Mammoth Mountain Summer Camp Will Make You Wish You Were A Kid Again

Mammoth Mountain Summer Camp
Mammoth Mountain

Remember when we were kids and summer camp meant hiking in Yosemite, whitewater rafting and camping under the stars? Yeah, me neither! My summer camp wasn’t nearly half as cool as that! Those are exactly the kinds of activities that Mammoth Mountain will offer kids this summer at their annual Mammoth Kids Summer Camp, however, providing six days filled with fun and adventure that will make them the envy of all their friends.

Mammoth will offer two sessions of their summer camp this year, the first running July 7-12 and the other running July 28 – August 2. Participants are broken down into two age groups, 8-12 and 13-16 allowing all campers to interact with kids their own age and form lasting friendships. Over the course of the six days, they’ll go hiking and rafting in nearby Yosemite National Park, learn how to fly-fish and take an excursion into the mountains on horseback that includes overnight camping. Other activities include mountain biking on Mammoth’s beginner trails, rock climbing on the climbing wall and stand-up paddleboarding on June Lake. What more could a budding adventurer ask for?

For more details on this great kid-centric opportunity click here.

And while parents aren’t allowed at summer camp, that doesn’t mean Mammoth doesn’t have plenty to offer them as well. Many of the same activities are available for those who stay at the lodge, including full access to the mountain bike trails, fly-fishing spots, golf course and hiking paths. So while your little one is off on his or her own adventure, you can mix in a little of your own. Parents staying at Mammoth while their kids are in summer camp can receive up to a 20 percent discount on lodging, as well as some great deals on other activities as well.

Who says summer camp is just for the kids?

Go back to a simpler day at Beaver Creek Resort Summer Camp

Once upon a time, you’d take off in the summer with a sleeping bag, a fishing pole and a pocket knife. Summer camp offered all the soft challenges you could imagine (such as stomaching awful food), but you always had a blast. No responsibilities weighed you down. Today, though, those days are gone. You worry about paying the mortgage, getting to work on time and keeping your kids entertained.

If only you could go back … if only for a little while.

Vail Beaver Creek Resort Properties has the answer: “Camp Not Exactly Roughing It.” Blend the excitement and freedom of summer camp from your childhood with cocktails and cuisine that is far from revolting, and you have the perfect adult getaway (especially if you get some mile-high action en route).

Oh, and you’ll stay in one of Beaver Creek’s resorts or condos instead of a dumpy cabin or (blech) tent.

This program runs from June 13 to September 7, 2009. So, be ready to do all the hiking your legs will handle. Play a little frisbee golf or learn to fly fish. You’ll also get two lift tickets up Beaver Creek mountain (enjoy the view) and breakfast for two ever day. Horseback riding, ziplining, bungee trampoline, mountain bike rentals and hot air balloon trips are also available. You can get in on this action for $262 a night, for a minimum of three nights.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

Yes, you read the headline correctly.

And yes, it means exactly what it looks like it means.

Nature-Deficit Disorder is not a clinically diagnosed disease. It is, however, a rather clever name for a disturbing trend towards “denatured childhood” and the alarming affects that can result from such a condition.

The phrase was coined by Richard Louv in his fascinating book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Louv points out that today’s children no longer spend long summer afternoons running through the woods, playing in fields, or camping under the stars. Instead, they are at home playing video games, watching movies, surfing the web, or engaging in other indoor activities.

I’ve witnessed this myself when I go home to my parent’s house for Christmas and am surprised every year by the absolute dearth of kids playing in the street with their new toys. Christmas morning is a ghost town–outdoors, at least. If I peer through the neighbor’s windows, however, I can see all the kids huddled around TVs or computer screens, bug-eyed and brain dead. Frankly, I find it very depressing.

So what’s the harm in spending less and less time outdoors in nature?

Louv argues that the exposure to nature is necessary for cognitive development and without a heavy dosage of it, children are more prone to suffer from depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, stress, and, of course, obesity.Part of this theory is based upon the concept of biophilia–a belief that we are all still hunters and gathers at heart and are therefore still very strongly connected to nature. As a result, “there is something in us that needs natural forms, that needs association with nature in ways that we don’t fully understand.”

Although Louv is not a doctor, he sites a substantial body of research supporting links between positive immersion in nature and a child’s increased cognitive development.

He takes the argument a step further by blaming decreased nature exposure on worried parents who no longer allow their kids to run loose. Playtime is not only structured and supervised these days, but playgrounds and parks have been completely bled of any natural elements for fear of lawsuits, thus creating an artificial environment that might be outdoors, but it sure isn’t natural.

It will be a long time, if ever, we see Nature-Deficit Disorder appear in the pages of the DSM, psychology’s A-Z of psychiatric diagnoses. I doubt that such a condition will ever be proven conclusively, and yet exposing children to the great outdoors just feels right to me, like it’s the natural thing to do.