So, let’s talk Banner Day Camp – our absolute favorite summer day camp in Chicago’s North Shore! Not only is it the same place where I spent seven amazing summers as a kid, creating memories that still make me smile, but if I’m being honest, it’s so much more than just nostalgia. With so many incredible day camps in our area, choosing the right one for our kiddos was a big deal for my husband and me. This wasn’t a decision that we took lightly!! We dove headfirst into research, scoping out all the options in the area, and took tours of various campgrounds. We wanted to explore every avenue before landing on our final choice.

This post is in partnership with Banner Day Camp located in Lake Forest, IL. As always, all opinions are 100% honest, my own, and never influenced by the company. Thank you for supporting brands that make The Dana Ivy – Real Mom Life possible =)

Banner was actually the last camp that we toured and both of us got in the car afterward giddy with excitement. IT WAS A NO BRAINER. We felt the magic! Banner Day Camp exceeded our expectations in every way!

Today I’m sharing nine reasons why Banner won our hearts and why we’re thrilled to send our kids there each summer!

1. Feels like Family

We love that the owner of Banner Day Camp, Stacy, is hands on with every aspect of camp. Case in point – she just so happened to be our tour guide when Isaiah and I toured Banner for the first time. We were impressed that the owner was giving tours! Immediately, we could feel her excitement over camp! I mean, it has literally been apart of her life ever since she could remember. I actually knew who she was the second I saw her from when I was a camper – crazy, right?! Her parents, Allen and Helen Schwartz, opened Banner in 1964 and Stacy has truly maintained it as the magical place it always was.

Knowing that the owner of the camp where we’ll be sending our child is someone who my husband and I truly like and admire is huge for us. Stacy is incredibly warm, caring, and genuine. I totally believe that one of the main reasons Banner has continued to impress families all these years is because of Stacy and the staff members she employs. Her passion for Banner Day Camp is contagious and you feel that immediately!

2. The Community Feel at Banner Day Camp is Real

Banner is huge, with over 55 acres of state-of-the-art camping facilities. This is a good thing! That means there’s a ton of fun things to do on their awesome and beautiful camp grounds, and each part of it has its own purpose. My husband and I really appreciated how they set up different areas of camp for kids of various ages. The youngest campers at Banner have their own areas designated to their use while older campers have different spaces just for them.

But what’s more is the sense of community at Banner. They have all these fun activities like Bannerama, where they sing songs in the morning and afternoon, and Fantastic Fridays, where the camp turns into a whole new world based on the day’s theme. These traditions are the very best!

3. Communication Matters at Banner Day Camp

Out of all the camps we visited, Banner was literally the only one that told me they make it a priority to call home each week to talk to you about your child. I asked this question at all the camps we visited because I wasn’t a huge fan of the little communication we got at the camp my kids went to when they were toddlers. It was important to me to ask and the fact that they understand where I was coming from pretty much sold me right then and there!

4. Banner Aims to Shape Well-Rounded Individuals

Teaching kids about 21st century skills is one of Banner Day Camp’s prime goals and core visions of camp. As their website points out: “teaching children empathy, resiliency, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity is and always has been the central goal in all that we do at Banner.” I love this! As schools focus on academics, the camp you choose for your children should focus on the social and emotional aspect of growth, and Banner doesn’t only understand this, they ACT ON IT. 

One thing that Stacy told us about during our tour was their STARFISH program, which teaches campers that through their actions, they can make a positive difference. Each week brings a new goal {like teamwork and honesty} that they work towards. In the end, the goals spell out the word STARFISH and kids are recognized for honoring these values with STARFISH tags that they carry on their backpacks. How awesome is that?!

5. No-Fuss Dress Code

Wearing a Banner Day Camp shirt every day means saving LOTS of money. You know, at first, I thought it might be a downside, but then I realized something awesome. I don’t have to stress about what my kiddo should wear each day! Plus, no need to buy a bunch of separate camp clothes for the summer! At the start of camp, they give you three shirts for free. And if you want more, you can buy them, but they just need to say “Banner Day Camp” on them.

6. The Dining Hall at Banner Day Camp is Air Conditioned

With their air-conditioned dining hall, Banner ensures our kids stay cool and comfortable during those scorching summer days. It’s a small detail, but it makes a world of difference! And my kids appreciate the mid-day cool-down while they eat lunch.

7. Safe and Reliable Transportation

Banner prides itself on safety, and that starts with making sure their campers get to camp and home flawlessly, without a hitch! On top of being certified by the state, their drivers undergo Banner’s own intensive bus training program. With that, all bus drivers are also counselors at the camp, so you can be assured that your children are riding with quality people.

I remember my bus experience to and from Banner as a kid and it was the best. On top of the driver, there are counselors who ride the bus with your kids to ensure safety guidelines are followed while also making the ride fun with sing-a-longs, bus games, and chants! It’s also another way for your children to get to know other kids attending camp as well as other counselors besides for their own. My kids are obsessed with riding the bus!

8. Endless Adventures

Banner’s diverse range of activities keeps our kids on their toes and eager to explore. Whether they’re into arts and crafts or outdoor adventures, there’s something for every interest and ability level. My kids love trying new things over the summer at Banner Day Camp and I like to say that there is no better place to do it!

9. Year-Round Fun

It doesn’t end with summer. Banner keeps the excitement going with themed events and surprises throughout the year. We love when they send our kids winter hats before the snow rolls in, holiday cards with special treats and activities inside, and so much more! It’s like getting a little taste of camp all year round!

Banner Day Camp is Just So Special

So, there you have it. Our top nine reasons for sending our kids back to Banner Day Camp year after year. It’s become our kids’ summer home away from home, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re looking for an unforgettable summer experience for your kids, trust me when I say that Banner’s where it’s at!

Banner Day Camp is located at 1177 Riverwoods Rd in Lake Forest, IL. 60045. Camp tours are given year round! You can call to set up an appointment at 847.295.4900. Also – go follow Banner on Instagram.

And check out my other blog posts about the best camp on Earth! I’ve shared about their incredible STARFISH program! As well as I’ve written some posts that Banner has sponsored including a list for what to bring in your child’s summer camp backpack and 6 water safety tips to remember when bringing your kids to a pool. They are all good reads!

9 Reasons Why We're Sending Brody to Banner Day Camp This Summer :: I Adore What I Love Blog :: #iadorewhatilove

PS I needed to shared this photo of yours truly (with my friend Traci – we have so many amazing Banner memories together!!!) during our Banner Day Camp Days! It’s pretty amazing, right?! How about me rocking that Banner t-shirt like the proud camper I was?! Hahaha it’s just too good.


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Comments +

  1. […] if you didn’t know that than go ahead and read all about the 9 reasons that convinced us HERE} Today, I bring to you a phone conversation that I recently had with Owner/Executive Director, […]

  2. […] blog posts about Banner, you can check them out after reading this one! The first post I wrote was 9 Reasons Why We’re Sending Brody to Banner Day Camp this Summer and the second was more of a podcast episode {so fun, right?!} where I talked to Stacy […]

  3. […] if you didn’t know that than go ahead and read all about the 9 reasons that convinced us HERE} Today, I bring to you a phone conversation that I recently had with Owner/Executive Director, […]

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