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Effectively, the earliest summer camps were about escaping the big city and reconnecting with nature so boys can be better men. People saw that being outdoors built character and families began to place their kids, mainly boys, into the relatively few summer camps that established themselves in the 1870s-1880s. Camp Chocorua was an early dedicated summer camp, which was founded in New Hampshire by Ernest Balch, who was a student at Dartmouth college at the time. This camp was seen as a way for boys to heal from potentially negative effects of cities and help develop their character. Boys would get exposed to activities such as swimming, rowing, and even shooting or hunting, with camps also teaching them leadership skills.
Summer camps became not only places for playful activities and sports, but structured education, particularly with moral behavior, was part of the routines. This also meant that many early camps generally catered towards the upper classes as well, as middle and lower classes often could not afford the camps or needed to have their children around to help work in the factories or fields. Educators, philanthropists, health professionals, and religious leaders all soon became major proponents of summer camps, as their interests aligned in seeing summer camps being beneficial not only towards boys but also society more generally (Figure 1). <ref>For more on the establishment and early summer camps in the 19th century, see: Paris, L., 2010. <i>Children’s nature: the rise of the American summer camp</i>. New York University Press, New York, NY.</ref>
====Development of Summer Camps in the 20th Century====