By Shannon Traphagen

Summer camp is a beloved tradition in many families as parents fondly recall spending their summers at camp, making lifelong friends and learning the finer points of roasting marshmallows and competing in three-legged sack races. There are a variety of summer camps, each offering something different. The following are some local options.

Day camps.
When attending a day camp, kids return home each night rather than sleeping at camp. Buffalo Seminary Camp for girls features many exciting and empowering age-appropriate activities, including a sleepaway camp experience for girls ages 7-9. From yacht club, arts and crafts, field trips, and academic learning, there is much to explore.

JCC’s Camp Centerland in Getzville takes place on 19 beautiful acres where kids enjoy a variety of sports, archery, climbing, hiking, swimming, the arts, and more. Younger kids enjoy JCC Kiddie Camp.

From Lego Camp to Montessori, Gator Days Enrichment Camp, and more, Nardin offers art, theater, creative writing, improv, culinary skills, the magic of art and photography and more.

The Town of Hamburg’s Friendship Camp focuses more on the arts while their Woodlawn Adventure Camp focuses more on sports.

Meanwhile, Neglia Ballet Camp offers free summer programs, scholarships and programming for ages 3 to adult, including Storytime Explorers for boys and girls ages 4 through 8 where children read books, create costumes, scenery and dances, culminating with a performance and reception. Boys Dance Too is free for boys ages 8 to 13 who want to try ballet without fear of criticism. Whirl and Twirl is a free creative movement class for boys and girls ages 3 to 5. Meanwhile, adult ballet takes place all summer on Monday evenings.

Sports camps.
Many camps catering to young athletes who want to further develop their athletic talents in a particular sport. Examples are The Fencing Center of Buffalo for kids ages 10 and up and Skibbereen Farms Riding Camp. From basketball to soccer, tennis, swimming, rowing, and volleyball, there are many sports camps to explore.

Special needs camps. Many camps listed above are inclusive of children with special needs, while others specifically cater to such youngsters. Staff at special needs camps typically undergo extensive training, which helps to calm fears parents may have about leaving their children at camp all day. Camp Good Days, Cradle Beach, and Buffalo Hearing and Speech’s Leap into Literacy Program are some examples.

Cultural Camps.
Italian Fantastico Camp in Williamsville enables kids to enjoy typical camp activities while further exploring their cultural background. Kids can explore the Italian language and culture through hands-on Italian learning games, and authentic Italian outdoor play while also participating in soccer, bocce ball, arts and crafts, pasta-making and more.

Family camps.
Family camps are opportunities for the whole family to enjoy the summer camp experience, may be faith-based or secular, and families typically stay overnight.

Regardless of the camp you choose, the lessons learned can strengthen values, build confidence, develop skills to deal with adversity, and enable campers to make lifelong friends. For a complete guide to Buffalo summer camps visit