There's no doubt that summer camp is fun. Kids get to sing silly songs, play funny games, swim in lakes, and tell spooky stories around a campfire.

There's no doubt that summer camp is fun. Kids get to sing silly songs, play funny games, swim in lakes, and tell spooky stories around a campfire.

This is the image of camp that has been captured and memorialized in films, books and television programs for the past 50 years.

But there's much more to camp than just a good time. In addition to fun, parents should be aware of these five reasons their child needs camp.

Camp forever changes your child ... for the better - American Camp Association (ACA) research has confirmed that camps build skills necessary to prepare campers to assume roles as successful adults. Campers said that camp helped them make new friends (96 percent), get to know kids who are different from them (93 percent), feel good about themselves (92 percent), and try things they were afraid to do at first (74 percent). Camp teaches your child to "move it, move it" - Camp provides children the opportunity to try new things and participate in human-powered activities. According to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an American child is six times more likely to play a videogame on any given day than to ride a bike. An estimated 22 million of the world's children under the age of five are already considered obese. According to research conducted by ACA, 63 percent of children who learn new activities at camp tend to continue engaging in these activities after they return home. This leads to continued physical exercise that lasts a lifetime. Camp keeps all that hard work from going to waste - Camps understand the critical role they play in helping young people learn and grow. Many offer programs that help reduce summer learning loss, bolster academic enrichment and socialization, provide opportunities for leadership development, and ensure that campers achieve their full potential. Camp allows kids to take a deep breath and feel the nature - Camp is a great way for your child to unplug from the iPod and plug into the world around them. According to a study by two Cornell University environmental psychologists, being close to nature can help boost a child's attention span. Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Essex in England concluded that nature can help people recover from pre-existing stresses or problems, has an immunizing effect that can protect from future stresses, and helps people to concentrate and think more clearly. In some instances, camp may be the only time a child is in contact with the natural world. Camp is fun - It's true; kids do sing silly songs and play funny games at camp. Children are allowed to play in a safe and nurturing environment, and are allowed to just be kids. Play is a powerful form of learning that contributes mightily to the child's healthy physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development. According to an American Academy of Pediatrics report, creative free play protects a child's emotional development and reduces a child's risk of stress, anxiety, and depression. To find the perfect camp for your child, visit the Find A Camp feature on ACA's parent website at www.CampParents.org.

The American Camp Association (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.