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These 9 Outrageous Summer Camps Actually Exist

Would you send your kid to one?

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Toddler boy play with the ducklings in the petting zooElizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock

Farm camp: Because farm-to-table is the future

It might be tough to get your child to help out around the house, but at Farm Camp in Plantation, CA, that’s the main activity. Here, campers choose their own chores, ranging from helping to raise the farm animals to cooking the camp meals. There are plenty of other, more typical, camp activities as well, like canoeing, arts and crafts, and campfires. They’ll come home ready to take charge around the house (and they’ll probably want to buy some chickens).

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child shakes handsPetrychenko Anton/Shutterstock

Etiquette camp: Beyond handshaking

It is true, manners are important. But a camp for good manners doesn’t sound nearly as fun as, say, Explosives Summer Camp! Activities at Civil Savvy Camp, in Palms, South Carolina, include learning why a fork isn’t a shovel, extending and accepting invitations, the proper form for handshaking, and how to talk on a phone like Emily Post.

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Happy family - father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool. Travel lifestyle, water sport adventure, swimming on summer beach holiday with kidsTropical studio/Shutterstock

Sea camp: Testing the waters

At Catalina Sea Camp in San Juan Capistrano, CA, campers will learn the ins-and-outs of marine biology and the ocean ecosystem. They’ll get to try their hand at kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, and basic scuba diving. And when their sea legs get tired, there are plenty of on-shore activities (like cooking and playing gaga ball) to keep them busy. No matter what camp you send your child to, there will likely be a few things that go down without your knowledge. Read the 13 things your kid’s summer camp counselor won’t tell you (sometimes it’s for the best).

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Russia, Vladivostok, 05/27/2017. Young girl shoots from home-made wooden archery bowDenis Kabelev/Shuttertock

‘Game of Thrones’ camp: Protect the realm

Well, you won’t exactly be fighting for the honor of Daenerys Targaryen, but Camp Arcātheos is close. Its website reads: “Beyond the natural reach of mortals, there exists an ancient realm known as Lumenorus. The realm is divided into several Kingdoms, unified through a strong sense of brotherhood. The most sought after of these is the Kingdom of Arcātheos…” And the camper’s job is to protect Arcātheos from evil by drawing a sword, guarding a castle, firing water balloons by catapult, shooting arrows, or jousting. Grab your trusty steed and suit of armor and get thee to Calgary, Canada anon!

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pensive african american boy in headphones taking notes and studying in parkLightField Studios/Shutterstock

Camp Rock: Bring out your inner rockstar

Two movies, School of Rock and Disney’s Camp Rock, reimagined the typical curriculum for kids, and it’s about time that someone created a real rockin’ summer camp. At School of Rock, kids ages 6 and up can embrace their inner rockstar. The day camp has programs from Beginner to Performance Boot Camp and Songwriting & Recording Camp to Famous Rock Band Camps, so there’s something for every skill level. Rock on!

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boy playing with toy sword in parkian routledge/Shutterstock

Ninja Warrior camp: From camouflage to mind control

It’s every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan’s dream come true! In learning how to become a real ninja, you’ll be taught stealth; camouflage; hand-to-hand combat; sword, staff, and blow gun skills; mind control, and how to throw a Shuriken—or star. Ninja Camp USA is located in Otisville, New York. Worried about sending your child off to their first sleep away camp? Read these tips for a smooth summer camp send-off.

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Education School Student Circuit Electricity Transistor

Coding Camp: Creating future STEM leaders

If your child is already showing signs of tech greatness, this is the camp for them. At iD Tech Camps, kids ages 7-17 spend a week of day camp or overnight camp immersing themselves into the world of STEM. Activities include building a mobile app, creating viral videos, designing your own video game, and learning engineering skills. Dozens of courses are available, so you’re sure to find one that fits your child’s interests. Chances are, they’ll come home smarter than you (but that’s okay). Locations are available across the country. If you’re wary of the concept of overnight camp, be sure to read this author’s explanation of why sleep away camp was alway the best week of the summer.

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Group of asian children drawing and painting with crayon together with funA3pfamily/Shutterstock

‘Learn All About North Korea’ camp: Hope for peace

The Unification Leaders Camp is a South Korean-sponsored getaway dedicated to schooling South Korean youngsters about their neighbors to the north and keeping hope alive that the two Koreas can eventually unite. NPR notes that the camp is located near a beach, but kids don’t get much fun in the sun. Instead, they go to lectures by North Korean defectors, make “unification bracelets of hope,” and create a music video based on the government-sponsored unification song, “One World One Korea.”

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Girl walking on the sling. Child balancing on slackline at a beach. Shadow of a human figures on the sand. Girl is balancing on one leg.O_Lypa/Shutterstock

Circus camp: Master the art of trapeze

If you have a fledgling performer in your house, check out French Woods Camp in Hancock, NY. One of their sleep-away programs is focused on the performing arts; it has a 12,000 facility to practice all of the circus arts you can imagine. And when the campers aren’t trying out tightrope walking or flying trapeze, they can pick new “minor” activities each day. Just remember to circus-proof the house by the time they get back, because chandeliers should not be swung from. Check out these 12 hilarious summer camp letters from kids to their parents…just so you know what to expect.

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.