By Sarah Kelley
What comes to mind when you think about the most magical place on earth? Most would yell Disney World! (Although you are reading this blog so maybe you have already jumped ahead of me and yelled camp.) After each week of summer camp, we send out parent surveys to continually evaluate and improve our summer programs. Without fail, each summer we receive several responses from parents saying their son/daughter says camp at Asbury Hills was more fun than Disney World. I take that as one of the highest compliments we could receive. It’s nothing against the mouse. Disney really is a magical place, and with a two-year old daughter obsessed with Mickey Mouse, the day is coming soon for me when we plan a trip of our own there.
So what is it about Asbury Hills that makes campers say it is better than Disney World? Is the Wet Willie really more fun than Splash Mountain?
Does the zipline canopy tour beat the Rock and Rollercoaster?
Does the giant swing beat The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror?
Maybe they do, but I think it has less to do with the activities and more to do with the intangibles that Asbury Hills offers. While you will bump into people from all over the world in Disney, chances are you won’t get to stay in cabin with them and make real friendships. And besides the occasional stranger you may ask for directions, there aren’t many opportunities for teamwork to happen at a theme park. But I think the biggest difference is we give our campers a chance to ask lots of questions, be a leader but also learn to follow, to solve problems, to try something new, and overall develop and be confident in who they are as an individual. And that’s something that not even the most magical place on earth can offer.