If you’re facing the prospect of your son or daughter’s first summer at sleepaway camp, you may be just a little nervous about whether or not it’s the right decision. Rest assured that for most kids who are ready to spend an extended period of time away from home, not only will they most likely have a blast, they’ll also enjoy the boundless benefits of this time-honored summer tradition.
Ramping Up Social Skills
Camp is a great place to improve social skills and to build self-confidence. Away from the social expectations of cliques at school or in the neighborhood, youngsters can branch out and learn how to meet new people and develop new friendships under the guidance of counselors who are well-trained in facilitating these social interactions. Offering incredible chances to get to know people from different parts of the U.S. or even foreign countries, camp helps children learn how to bridge cultural gaps and develop a more global view of the world. From sharing chores to pulling pranks and getting the hang of respecting other people’s space, camp invites youngsters to pull together as a new little community.
Developing New Interests
Youngsters can learn a lot about themselves at summer camp. Particularly, since these lively months are brimming with opportunities to learn new skills, hone old ones and step outside their comfort zone. Often children will hang back at school rather than try something new because they are afraid of failure or intimidating expectations. At camp, however, everyone’s trying a new activity from art and singing to diving and sailing. Better yet, counselors are trained to be encouraging and supportive of all efforts.
Getting Out in Nature
Mainly situated on lakes, and in the woodlands and mountains throughout the country, sleepaway camps immerse youngsters into the wonderful world of nature and wildlife helping them to discover a connection that for some will last a lifetime. For campers from urban areas in particular, the magic of an owl’s hoot in the star-speckled darkness, the tug of a first fish on the line or just learning to forge a path through the forest helps in the development of a love and respect for a beautiful world they might not otherwise be exposed to. Not to mention how healthy it is to breathe in all of that fresh air!
Providing Avenues for Safe Risk-Taking
Under the watchful eye of trained summer camp staff, kids can gain the confidence to take safe risks, whether diving into the deep end of the pool, swimming across the lake, braving the high ropes course or singing a solo at the evening campfire. With these safe risk-taking opportunities, youngsters, especially those nearing adolescence, are less likely to seek more detrimental outlets for experimentation as they grow older.
Most kids, even the most outgoing and flexible, experience some homesickness, especially in their first summer away at camp. Even those who are having fun with new friends and activities often report times of missing home and family. However, most overcome this common malady with the help of counselors, friends and fun-filled activities, and it’s this process that helps youngsters build a strong foundation of resilience that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.
Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle
Researchers have found that more kids than ever before are spending their summer vacation hanging around the house glued to various electronic devices. Going to summer overnight camp guarantees that your son or daughter, at the very minimum, will be getting outside and running around which very likely will limit how much time they spend on a phone or computer… perhaps no time at all! They will be well-supervised, getting involved in a host of exciting outdoor adventures and spending fun-filled times with other kids and camp counselors. Not only will your summer camper be having a great time, you will be free to attend to other responsibilities without having to worry about what he or she is doing with all of their down time.