When looking for summer activities for their children, parents today are faced with an incredible wealth of options. Many of these options describe themselves as “camp”: sports camps, arts camps, school camps (which always strikes one as somewhat oxymoronic), and, of course, the ubiquitous “day camps.” Each of these offers benefits to the family, but certain programs stand apart. According to several parents and camp directors, what we will term a traditional day camp, with a program mirroring the classic resi¬dent camp program, presents something uniquely advantageous to its campers and families. Traditional day camps matter in a way that differs from the host of other summer activities. Thus, questions arise: Why does day camp matter, and how do we position this kind of program among everything else?