If you have been to camp, you are not surprised to hear about the benefits of summer camp. Experiencing life at camp yourself as a child, you know the profound positive effects that still matter to you as an adult, and you also know that you want the same thing for your own children.
But if you did not go to camp as a child, you may not realize just how good the experience is for children. You may not know why so many parents are committed to sending their children to camp.
In addition to providing parents with a childcare option over the summer months, camps can help children with both short-term and long-term development. When your child attends summer camp, he learns how to work with others, build meaningful relationships, accept guidance and develop decision-making skills. All of these life skills nurture independence and confidence, creating a foundation that will serve him and that he’ll stand and grow from for the rest of his life.
Although each camp is different, when talking with campers, parents, and camp staff, there are common themes that continually come up when talking about the benefits of summer camp. Summer camp is a special type of community where children come together to have fun. Within the camp setting, children develop a sense of independence as they try new adventures away from home. Summer camps are known for providing a safe environment where children gain self-confidence as they learn new skills. Camp is also a place where children develop a variety of social skills as well.
Here is a list of the most important reasons to send your children to camp:
- Spend their day being physically active – As children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move. Running, swimming, jumping, hiking, and climbing are great for your child’s physical development.
- Experience success and become more confident – Camp helps children build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives at school. With its non-competitive activities and diverse opportunities to succeed, camp life is a real boost for young children. Camp helps them achieve a new goal each day and boosts their confidence.
- Gain resiliency – The kind of encouragement and nurture children receive at camp makes it a great environment to endure setbacks, try new (and thereby maybe a little frightening) things, and see that improvement comes when you give something another try. Camp helps conquer fears.
- Unplug from technology – When children take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage with the real world and real people, real activities, and real emotions. They realize that there is always plenty to do.
- Develop life-long skills – Camps provide the right instruction, equipment and facilities for children to enhance their sports abilities, their artistic talents, and their adventure skills. The sheer variety of activities offered at camp makes it easy for children to discover and develop what they like to do. This is how camp helps expand every child’s abilities.
- Grow more independent – Camp is the perfect place for children to practice making decisions for themselves without parents and teachers guiding every move. Managing their daily choices in the safe, caring environment of camp, children welcome this as a freedom to blossom in new directions. Camp helps children develop who they are.
- Have free time for unstructured play – Free from the overly-structured, overly-scheduled routines of home and school, life at camp gives children much needed free time to just play. Camp is a slice of carefree living where children can relax, laugh, and be silly all day long. Play is a great way to learn for children.
- Learn social skills – Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they live in a cabin with others, children share chores, resolve disagreements, and see firsthand the importance of sincere communication. Camp builds teamwork.
- Reconnect with nature – Camp is a wonderful antidote to “nature deficit disorder,” to the narrow experience of modern indoor life. Outdoor experience enriches kid’s perception of the world and supports healthy child development. Summer camp gets children back outside.
- Make true friends – Camp is the place where children make their very best friends. Free from the social expectations pressuring them at school, camp encourages children to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together— singing, laughing, talking, playing, doing almost everything together.