Summer camps usually bring to mind a ton of kids being outdoors, roasting marshmallows around a fire, and swimming in a lake. While there is nothing wrong with traditional summer camps, parents of kids aiming to be collegiate or professional gamers now have other options. If the parents can afford it, middle, high school, and college students can now attend summer esports camps to learn the ins and outs of competitive gaming.
The primary purpose of these camps is to coach budding esports players and teach them how to make decisions that will help them win a game. Players learn to control as an individual and as a team, by learning to self-reflect, manage their emotions, and efficiently communicate with their team. By being paired up with players of similar skill levels, they can gain valuable experience that will prepare them for competitive gaming.
Generally, summer esports camps can be divided by the school level and even by a specific game. These camps occur all over the country every year and usually last about a week. Here are some of the most interesting ones to go to.
University of California Irvine eSports Camps (June 23- July 12)
UCI eSports summer camps have occurred since 2017, beginning with their Girls In Gaming Summer Camp. For 2019, they’ve also added an Overwatch boot camp and a Fortnite boot camp for both respective games. The age range for the camp is ages 13-18, high schoolers, and recent high school graduates. All skill levels are accepted.
Illinois College League of Legends Summer Camp (July 22-26)
As the name implies, Illinois eSports Camp focuses on the multiplayer online game League of Legends. This camp will focus on screen skill development, physical and psychological training, and team-building with a coach. The camp is for those ages 13-18, but there is also a parent esports education session. All skill levels are accepted.
University of Akron (July 8-12, July 15-19, or July 22-26)
If you need a kids’ summer camp and are located in the Midwest, the University of Akron will have its first Esports summer camp, which is open to middle school and high schoolers ages 12-17. Each day will have 2-3 classes on esports professions, and IT related skills, as well as courses taught by the Akron Esports varsity team to provide one-on-one help and coaching. At the end of each week, parents and friends are invited to watch the campers play a live match at UA’s Esports arena.
MSU’s eSports Camp: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (July 15-19)
Michigan State University’s eSports camp is the perfect way for high schoolers to get their foot wet in not only competitive gaming but also video game streaming. You can learn to record and stream your gameplay like a professional while receiving coaching, studying film and game replays, and practicing competition techniques. Smash Bros. students must bring their own hardware to run their games.
Julian Krinsky eSports Summer Camp (multiple sessions offered)
Located at Villanova University and Haverford College, Julian Krinsky’s two-week summer eSports camp is designed to introduce gamers to various facets of esports. Targeted at ages 10-18, some games that can be experienced include Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Minecraft. A unique feature of the camp is how participants can choose their favorite sport and then train for an end of session tournament that is rounded off with a professional, live-streamed championship match.
Game Camp Nation (multiple locations & time periods)
While this isn’t strictly an eSports camp, Game Camp’s focus on STEM and gaming could inspire a career in competitive gaming or a related field. Depending on your location and what you pay, there are a variety of activities that one could participate in. For example, the Norcross, GA location teaches 3-D game design and Minecraft modding. Aimed at ages 7-17, the day camp or overnight camp options and the resort-style living accommodations make a gaming summer camp look like a vacation paradise.
Level 13 Esports Gaming Camp (multiple periods offered)
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Level 13 eSports camp for ages 8-18 is currently happening at Level Esports Gaming Center. With the ability to focus on a single game or multiple games at once, this camp can be an excellent way to hone your gaming skills. Several multiplayer online battle arena and sports games are available to play including League of Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch, FIFA, Madden, and more. Public venues strictly for gaming can be rare, but this particular camp might be a good way for kids and parents to get into gaming.3