The Benefits of Sumer Camp…
Summer camp will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a place of adventure, personal growth, building lasting friendships, and trying new things. It’s a place I left crying because I could not wait to go back. Above all, summer camp is a place to build independence and confidence. If you have sent your child to summer camp, I’m sure you know what I mean. If you are considering summer camp for your child, here are some of the top benefits of Summer Camp.
Keeps a Fun Schedule
While it’s nice for kids to leave behind the books and school classes, having no structure in their day can be a detriment. The daily schedule provided at camp keeps kids engaged in both mind and body with a variety of fun activities. When kids go to camp, you won’t hear, “I’m bored” or “I have nothing to do.” Keeping a schedule also helps with the transition back to the structured days at school.
Allows Kids to Just Play
While there is a structure to the day at camp, it also provides the opportunity for kids to play. During the school year, kids are often so busy with school and extra curricular activities that they don’t have time to just play.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play helps children reach important milestones in emotional, cognitive and social development. Camps give kids plenty of play time which promotes healthy social and emotional development.
Promotes an Electronic Free-Zone
It’s extremely rare these days that kids don’t have easy access to electronics. Even toddlers often have tablets or play games on their parent’s phones. Middle and high school students are practically glued to their smart phones or play hours of video games. This behavior limits the socialization activities they should develop as a child.
The majority of summer camps are technology free zones. No smartphones, tablets, and personal computers are allowed. Children return to communicating face to face when they take a break from technology.
Helps Kids be More Independent
When kids are separated from their parents, they are given the opportunity to think independently. A camper has to learn to be self reliant and trust other adults and peers. Many camps provide children with the opportunity to choose their activities. Without parental guidance, kids feel empowered to make choices and take risks.
For many children, camp is the first chance they get to experience these things. They build independence skills as they take on more responsibility by making their own decisions. They build problem-solving and social skills in a supportive community where their choices are praised.
Whether it’s trying an activity outside of their comfort zone or pushing through homesickness, kids discover a valuable sense of pride and self-reliance. The non-competitive camp environment provides kids with many opportunities to succeed giving them a boost in self confidence.
We started our kids in day camp during the pre-school years. Our daughter was painfully shy. After years of camp, I asked her what she liked best about camp. She says, “Camp has had a big impact on me as a person. I used to be so shy. Now I can go up to kids and introduce myself. I feel much more confident.”
Connects Kids with Nature
Many camps provide ample time outdoors and even studying things in nature. Outdoor experiences are so important in a world where kids spend so much time indoors throughout the school year. Being in nature helps expand children’s knowledge of the world around us.
My son says activities like hiking and kayaking were two of his favorites. He says, “It felt so free to be outside enjoying nature.” Kids can make connections with nature they they many have never experienced before.
Teaches Social Skills
Entering camp is a whole new social experience. It may seem scary at first. It’s basically a crash course in meeting new people which helps build social skills.
Being part of a camp means joining a community where kids must agree to cooperate and respect one another. They learn to resolve disagreements through sincere face to face communication. This environment helps build teamwork and allows kids to learn to trust one another.
Promotes Self -Worth
Well, kids won’t exactly become new people per se, but they will have the opportunity to reinvent themselves a bit. They get to ditch the labels they may have had at school. My daughter has dyslexia and was sometimes labeled stupid by peers. At camp, she found an environment where she was valued for who she was, not by her disability. Camps focus on creating a place where kids are treated fairly and bullying is not tolerated. Kids experience the freedom to just be themselves.
Cultivates Leadership Experience
Even at a young age, campers are often asked to take a leadership role in some way. From being the leader in a game to becoming a camp counselor, there are so many ways that campers can learn to lead in a supportive and positive environment.
Learning how to lead teaches children how to be good citizens. They learn that they play a role in contributing to a better community.
Campers entering their teenage years are given greater opportunities to build leadership skills. Most camps offer CIT (counselor-in-training) programs. They learn to become strong communicators, care for younger campers, and plan programs and activities.
Jenn Mitchell blogs at ComebackMomma.com and is a mother of two teens who started going to camp when they were just in preschool. Stop by her blog for inspiration about have a happy and healthy family. When Jenn’s not blogging, she enjoys cuddling with her rescue pup, making her kids laugh and her morning cup of tea.