Beliefnet
Summer camp is not only about sports, swimming, and arts and crafts--it's about spirituality, too. A growing number of camps are offering spiritual activities--from Christian basketball to Tarot card reading to Israeli folk dancing. Beliefnet's guide to spiritual summer camps offers a glance at some of the unique summer offerings at camps from many different faith traditions.



Omega Teen Camp
What Is It? An alternative to traditional summer camps, the Omega Teen Camp in Holmes, New York opened in 2002 to offer teens a similar program to what Omega, the nation's largest holistic education center, has been offering adults since 1977. Campers engage in hands-on workshops and classes that build confidence and self-esteem while allowing for self-discovery. According to the camp's website, activities focus on "the integration of body, mind and spirit."
Who's Going? Teens age 13 to 17
Cool Activities: Thai massage, yoga, Tarot card reading, pilates, star navigation, spa treatments, Reiki, and meditation
Summer Highlight: Participation in the camp's sweat lodge ceremony (a sort of spiritual sauna) is considered the most popular and spiritually powerful camp activity.
Website: http://www.omegateencamp.org

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Hindu Heritage Summer Camp
What Is It? The Hindu Heritage Summer Camp, located in Rochester, New York allows Hindu youth to "explore and understand the diverse traditions and philosophies of Hinduism in an intellectual, nurturing, and fun-filled environment." The camp helps young Hindus discover what it means to be a Hindu-American.
Who's Going? Hindu youth, ages 8 to 16
Cool Activities: Meditation, yoga, studying Sanskrit, mantras, are more.
Summer Highlight: The camp has a Karma Yoga Scholars program for returning campers interested in learning leadership skills. In addition to a number of responsibilities, KYS campers keep a spiritual journal and participate in a day of silence.
Website: http://www.omhhsc.org

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Abilene Christian University's Basketball Summer Camp
What Is It? The Christian university, located in Abilene, Texas, plays host to thousands of kids and teens over the summer and offers 13 different kinds of camping opportunities—some focus purely on leadership building skills, while others focus on athletics. The boy's basketball camp has three different sessions based on age where they get a chance to improve their basketball abilities through drills and games. The girl's camp also has three sessions based on age and skill level. According to the university's website, the coaching staff "lead the campers in physical, mental, social and spiritual growth opportunities."
Who's Going? Christian boys and girls in 1st through the 12th grade.
Cool Activities: Basketball, and Christian-based lectures. The school also offers other camps for baseball, volleyball, football, soccer and more.
Summer Highlight: Sessions are held at ACU's 4,500-seat Moody Coliseum, so campers can experience what it's like to play on a big, professional court.
Website: http://www.acu.edu/sports/summer_camps.html

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Budding Yogis Summer Camp
What Is It? Using a combination of imaginative and physical activities, this summer day camp builds a sense of self-esteem and strength in children. Located in Washington D.C., the Budding Yogis Studio aims to teach children how to release stress through yoga movements, breathing exercises and creative projects. Campers learn in a relaxing and safe atmosphere, where trust and friendship are emphasized.
Who’s Going? Children between the ages of five and 12
Cool Activities: Yoga games, a challenge pose each week, self-calming and mindfulness exercises, music, crafts and journaling.
Summer Highlight: Through regular journaling activities, campers can keep track of all they learn and experience at the Budding Yogis studio. The journal serves as a sweet keepsake of the child’s physical and emotional growth at the camp, as well as a reminder of fun times and new friendships.
Website: http://www.buddingyogis.com/

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