Summer Camp may be over in August, but the lessons and skills learned last a lifetime. Here are just a few ways summer camp can change your child’s life:
- Friendship – If you ask any adult about the summer camp friends they made, many will tell you that those friendships were among their truest and deepest. It shouldn’t surprise you if they are still friends today. The reason is because doing just about everything together forces kids to bond, and get to know each other for who they really are. They play sports, dance, make bracelets, go camping, and sleep in the same cabin. They sit at a camp fire singing, planning color war strategies, sharing stories in their bunks, and can be silly without the threats of peer pressure. These are the friends that you can rely on in 20 years when you need them the most.
- Self Confidence – Camp activities are planned to encourage kids to try new things and step out of their comfort zone. It’s done in a non-competitive environment where trying is rewarded more often than winning. Kids often find that they like something they didn’t think they would. They also learn new skills and see their potential. As the summer progresses, they will be less reluctant to climb the tower that scared them when they first saw it. They will jump into the lake without worrying if something lurks beneath or care if it’s cold. They will want to keep learning new skills and improving on others. These achievements will fuel the knowledge that they can succeed.
- Social Skills – Meeting new people and making friends can be scary for some kids. At camp, they find they aren’t the only ones who feel that way. They are guided by counselors, but more importantly, they end up helping each other. They are around other kids their age the entire time they are at camp and need to learn how to get along and resolve conflicts. Camps take bullying very seriously. It is simply not tolerated. Kids learn that everyone’s opinion matters and that it’s not a bad thing when it is different from their own. Having an open mind and accepting others will help kids throughout their life when they are in situations that require patience and understanding.
- Independence – Kids are given a lot of responsibility at camp. They may have chores like cleaning their cabin, or cooking a meal. Some camps have uniforms kids are required to wear. They need to be on time. They are expected to adhere to the conduct rules. They are responsible for following a schedule. Many camps offer activity choices so kids can decide how they want to spend their time. All of this will be valuable when they go away to college or live on their own for the first time. When they get a job, they will have the discipline to help them succeed.
- Physical Activity – With no computer games or cell phones, kids keep busy with physical activity. They go from soccer to swimming and then off to archery or a hike in the woods all in the same day. There are no buses or cars to take them around the facility. They walk, run, or skip to get there. They are also fed wholesome meals to help keep them going. Both physical activity and eating well contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
- Stress Relief – At every age we need to find ways to decompress, rejuvenate our spirit, and work through the stress in our lives. At camp, kids learn different methods of relieving stress. It may be found in the freedom of running around outside playing. Realizing that hiking through a natural forest listening to the sounds of the river below is calming. Trying a yoga class and learning how to breathe can slow or eliminate anxiety. Focusing on the upcoming talent show can take your mind off what is causing the stressful feelings. At camp these tools are taught in such a way that kids don’t even realize the connection. They just know that they are happy and not stressed. This is a feeling they want to hold on to so they continue doing it throughout their lives.