I did not get to attend a "traditional" summer camp... my mother had no idea why anyone would want to live 8-to-a-cabin and spend the day learning to ride, swim, kayak, and shoot a bow and arrow. (Also, I'm an only child and she had some difficulty letting go.) I did ultimately go away in the summer, twice: the first time to Northwestern, where I studied Algebra II, and the second time to Hampshire College, where I studied advanced math.
Did I love it? Yes, I did! For all the following reasons...
2) Surrounded by smart people
3) Lopsided boy-girl ratio
4) First kiss
5) Friends for life, or at least through the college era
6) Finally got my asthma correctly diagnosed
7) Friends who are boys
8) Counselors who were Really Smart Girls/Women
9) A look at life in an academic community
10) The confidence to leave home and go far away to college
I should probably explain a bit more. I spent my adolescence in a small, insular town in Indiana. Academic success was not encouraged in girls. Plus, I had acne, a mild stutter, and terrible social insecurity. Getting away for two summers really gave me a sense of what the wider world was like. When I applied to elite colleges on the East Coast, I actually knew some people who were doing the same thing, unlike my classmates in high school. Going to summer camp literally changed my life and I'm so grateful to both programs for giving me financial aid and all the encouragement I needed.