What is the purpose of summer camp? Should I send my child to day camps? The main aim of many summer camps is athletic, educational, and cultural development. A camp environment exposes young people to lifelong skills in a caring and safe environment.
Apart from allowing campers to enjoy the great outdoors, a summer camp experience has a permanent impact on a child’s development. Are you considering sending your child to a camp during the summer break? Read on to understand how your child will benefit from the summer camp experience.
Summer Camp Basics
Summer camp is a center where young adults meet to explore the natural world, learn new skills, and have fun. The summer camp setting promotes youth development and allows campers to engage in extracurricular activities like archery. Camps also instill a sense of community in the kids.
Many summer camps lie in a safe environment. Further, they are well-known for offering a wide range of activities that help develop varied social skills like problem solving and communication. Unlike in the past when summer sleepaway camps were in woody locations, the camping industry has evolved.
Today, various summer camps offer advanced activities like computer programming, performing arts, music, mathematics, language learning, and performing arts. Some YMCA camps also cater to people with special needs and those seeking weight loss solutions. According to reports published by the American Camp Association (ACA), more than 70% of camps adopted new programs. What is the purpose of summer camp? Find out below.
Benefits of Summer Camp
There are numerous reasons why your children should get out of their comfort zone and attend a summer camp session, as we shall see below.
1. Camp Promotes the Development of Relationship Skills
A fulfilling two-week camping experience involves allowing campers to acquire and exercise essential relationship-building skills. For many adventure enthusiasts, the camping setup is crucial, unlike high school, where academic results inspire their day-to-day activities. Adults who grew up attending camps opine that they help develop the ability to be open with one another and make new friends.
The social setup at overnight camps can be extraordinary, and many children look forward to fun interactions by the campfire. Like any other setup where people from different cultures meet, conflict often arises at summer camps. However, camp counselors are always ready to encourage and counsel the kids on dealing with conflict instead of avoiding it.
Many summer camps have qualified and experienced adults who help campers practice compassion, empathy, and communication. All these factors are ideal for building and maintaining healthy relationships.
2. Camp Promotes Empowerment and Independence
One of the best strategies you can use to develop your child’s independence is sending them camping. Without you around, they will be tasked with decision-making, time management, and organization. Summer camp gives children an opportunity to discover themselves and learn how to make informed decisions. Kids will also learn how to interact with their peers for support when the need arises.
3. Summer Camp Promotes Development of Social Skills and Friendships
Many camp alumni admit that camps are responsible for some of the most meaningful lessons and friendships they have today. The summer camp setting offers the ideal environment for campers to take up social risks.
Interacting with new people at a summer camp can be scary and difficult. However, many centers offer crash lessons on meeting and engaging with new people. Such tasks come in handy to help campers develop social skills, enhance their self-esteem, and practice independence.
According to experts, negotiation, co-operation, and teamwork are essential to the camping experience. Summer camps increase a child’s confidence level while promoting their ability to fit in social positions with ease.
4. Camp Stimulates Physical and Mental Activity
Many parents opine that children hardly get sufficient physical activity during summer break. Attending summer camps helps stimulate a kid’s physical and mental training. Today, many children spend their school holidays playing video games, watching television, and social media. However, you can get them out of their comfort zone by sending them to summer camp.
Today, there is a wide range of summer camps that offer advanced activities in an outdoor setting. Children will have fun while interacting with their peers from different cultures and learning new things.
5. Camp Promotes Healthy Living
Many camp programs today support both physical activity and healthy eating. They give children an opportunity to engage in a wide range of fun activities based on their skill level. According to studies, only one out of three kids engage in physical activity daily.
Physical activity is not only critical for maintaining heart health but helps children manage stress and boosts self-confidence. Children should learn the importance of physical activity from a young age to adopt the practice throughout their adulthood.
6. Encourages Growth within a Safe Environment
While children enjoy the freedom of choosing and engaging in their preferred activities, summer camp offers a structured, reassuring, and safe environment. Campers follow a routine and schedule that gives them a sense of security and also teaches self-control and responsibility.
For instance, campers in a sleepaway camp learn how to prepare for the day in advance. They understand how to get sufficient sleep and eat healthy meals. Mastering these skills from an early age helps them shape their lives as adults. Once a child feels secure, they acquire the freedom to pursue their interests. They also get a chance to understand and express themselves better.
7. Helps Campers to Connect with Nature
Nature helps stimulate all senses both in adults and children. Spending time outdoors gives children an opportunity to hear, touch, smell, see, and even have a taste of nature. Sensory development promotes all-around enrichment in young adults.
Remaining indoors for long hours often clouds senses and denies children life’s natural pleasures. Being outdoors encourages movement, which plays a significant role in emotional and mental health development.
By spending time outdoors, kids get a chance to climb, jump, skip, run, breathe fresh air, and laugh. They also get a healthy dosage of vitamin D directly from the sun. Nature allows kids to experience the amazement and magic of childhood and stimulates their brains to focus on the mysteries of life.
8. Camp Encourages Teamwork
Summer sleepaway camps focus on developing interpersonal, physical, and leadership skills that young campers can rely on later in adulthood. Many camping facilities teach kids life skills by including team-related activities in their schedules. Such actions can involve:
- Learning how to pitch tents.
- Hiking in the woods.
- Competing in team-based tasks.
Camp staff always emphasize skill-building in every activity. Team-oriented activities focus on developing a collaborative attitude in the campers. To promote teamwork, children should develop strong problem-solving and communication skills and learn how to make healthy decisions.
9. Summer Camps Allow Children to Express and Experience their Emotions around their Peers
During summer camp, children bump into new challenge-filled activities for the first time. They have to collaborate with their peers to beat hurdles and find solutions. Further, they have to creatively use their skills to beat their competitors and win games. Sometimes they must accept unfavorable game results.
Each day at the camping facility, every camper encounters new challenges. For example, an artist will be tasked with attempting a running race while an athlete will be required to try a baking recipe.
Each of these individuals will have to choose between winning and failing, after which they will express their emotions. Such experiences give children vital lessons which they can rely on to conquer new challenges both in school and later in adulthood.
According to the Camp Directors Association of the New York State, “The development that occurs through camp experiences—including the social-emotional learning environment that camps foster, the myriad of opportunities for physical exercise and growth, and, perhaps most importantly in our current world, the break from screens and technology—is essential.”
Kids are highly likely to take up risks and encounter success and failure comfortably in a camping environment because they feel confident, safe, and loved. In this case, loss becomes more manageable.
10. Camp Allows Children to Interact with their Peers
As people become overly busy, and with the ongoing pandemic, there have been fewer chances of interacting. Summer camp presents kids with an opportunity to spend time around people from different cultures in a long time.
At summer camp, children are placed in different groups with new children from various parts of the world. Camp staff is trained to initiate conversations and icebreaker activities that make campers comfortable from the beginning.
Children must always feel welcome to have the best camping experience. Instructors repeat the strategies mentioned above whenever a group engages in a new activity with unfamiliar people.
When the first group of children joins summer camp at the start of the season, they will observe how camp staff welcomes them. They will then replicate the same to new campers who join them later. The children master these skills and practice them in varied social conditions like when learners join them in the new school year.
11. Summer Camps Allow Children to Interact with Adults
Young campers watch and translate the conduct of people around them. They notice when adults feel uncomfortable or when situations change. They observe the decisions adults make in their lives and misinterpret things in the absence of proper guidance.
Thoughts about everything happening worldwide can confuse children, denying them the freedom to adjust to new environments with unfamiliar people. Children encounter new adults often during their childhood and teenage.
At summer camp, children interact with multiple staff trained to greet them with clear body language. These adults communicate with the children during each activity using age-suitable language. They also encourage the campers to participate wholly and have fun while at it. Children view new adults as positive mentors at camp, which gives them confidence when meeting unfamiliar adults away from the camping setup.
12. Camp Teaches Resilience
Resilience is a vital life skill that allows you to move on regardless of the setbacks you face. Summer camp exposes children to numerous challenges and teaches them how to overcome them. For instance, while campers may lose their initial soccer game, they get the determination to practice and improve their skills.
Some children may not complete their hiking trip but participating teaches them to keep trying without giving up. When they finally meet their goals, they not only feel strong, but they also become more resilient than ever.
Camp teaches the importance of effort whale allowing children to beat challenges with patience, determination, and a thirst for success. Acquiring new hobbies gives children positive strengths to deal with difficulties in life. Further, kids will develop a robust support system of camping friends to assist them through the challenges.
13. Camp Offers Fun Activities Away from the Screen
Studies show that children today spend over seven hours in front of their electronic devices every day. Doing so reduces their reading and sleeping time, and this can affect their school performance negatively. Summer camps allow campers to connect to life away from the screen.
At the Les Elfes summer camp, children have numerous opportunities to occupy their minds in different exciting ways. Regardless of a camper’s interests, they will learn and interact with their peers in a healthy environment. Taking some time off the screen is critical for developing a child’s body, brain, and spirit.
14. Summer Camp Trains Children to Appreciate Differences
During summer camp, children learn how to collaborate with their peers to achieve common goals. Engaging in different activities exposes them to different opinions, viewpoints, and ideas. They learn to accept that everyone has different beliefs and mindsets than themselves.
Children also learn to respect and appreciate differences to live together harmoniously to achieve their goals as a team. Summer camp provides an environment that promotes consideration and respect for one another. Campers receive recognition for identifying and appreciating each other.
15. Camps Maintain Intellectual Engagement among Campers
During the summer holiday, children tend to be sluggish for lacking intellectual stimulation available in the school setting. Summer camp offers mental stimulation in exciting ways that kids love. They get an opportunity to engage in varied activities based on their interests. Some camping facilities combine fun activities with reading competitions away from the school environment.
16. Camp Instills a Feeling of Purpose in Children
Children connect with their community via different camp activities like engaging in sports, dancing and singing. Not only do they value community more, but they also feel an inclination to impact the world positively.
A high community sense trains children how to make a valuable difference. Again, community responsibility instills in children a sense of belonging, which flights loneliness while improving the child’s general well-being and those around them.
Have you been trying to find the answer to; what is the purpose of summer camp? This article should give you appropriate answers and convince you to send your child to a reliable summer camp. Some parents hesitate to send their children to camp. However, camping offers numerous benefits that you should not ignore. Looking for more details about summer camp, read our blog, and learn.