Every summer, millions of children attend summer camps throughout the United States, but if you’ve never sent your child to camp before, you might be asking yourself, “Why is summer camp important?”
“I think it’s a great idea to give kids an experience of being on their own in a structured, supportive, and supervised environment,” said Maureen Monaghan of the Children’s National Medical Center. “The time away from parents provides an excellent opportunity for children to take initiative, exercise their autonomy, and develop leadership, problem-solving, and social skills, which often builds self-esteem. It challenges kids, takes them out of their comfort environment, and is usually really positive. We see a lot of growth and maturing.”
Among the benefits of summer camp experiences for children are:
- Making true friends
Camp encourages children to relax and make friends easily. As all of the fun at camp draws everyone together, camp creates friendships.
- Children spend their day being physically active
Camp provides a wonderful opportunity to swim, jump, hike, and climb. Camp is action.
- Camp boosts self-confidence
Children build self-confidence and self-esteem with non-competitive activities and diverse opportunities to succeed. Camp teaches children that they can succeed.
- Developing life-long skills
Camps provide the right instruction, equipment, and facilities for children to enhance their sports abilities, artistic talents, and adventure skills. Camps expand children’s abilities.
- Becoming more independent
Camp is the perfect place for children to make their own decisions without parents and teachers directing them. Camps encourage children to manage their choices in a safe, caring environment.
- Learning or improving social skills
Camps are close-knit communities where everyone cooperates and respects each other. Children share chores, resolve disagreements, and discover the importance of sincere communication.
- Reconnecting with nature
Camp provides access to outdoor activities that enhance children’s perception of the outside world.
- Unplugging from technology
Camps provide children with a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet and encourages them rediscover their creativity.
As you can see, there are many different reasons why summer camp is important for child development. It’s not just fun, but a special type of community where children come together and develop a sense of independence as they try new adventures away from home. Summer camps provide a safe environment where children gain self-confidence as they learn new skills.