Making the decision about whether to send you child to a summer camp is a huge decision with important implications for your child’s future. We are made up of our experiences. A summer camp experience has the potential to provide your child or tween with a meaningful growth experience and can be an important part of their development. These experiences are ones that they can carry with them into their lives. Here we will look at six life lessons your child has the potential to learn at summer camp:
Challenge Yourself and Expand Your Comfort Zone
As we live our lives most of us tend spend most of our days living in our “comfort zone”. Your comfort zone is that relatively safe space where you feel at ease with people, place and experiences. Summer Camp give you the opportunity to expand your comfort zone on a daily basis in the following ways:
- Trying new and exciting camp activities that “push you” a little including rock climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding.
- Learning to be comfortable living in an unfamiliar place that eventually feels like home.
- Developed friendships with new people. Friends from camp are friends for life.
When you challenge yourself on camp activities, or living in a new place or have to interact with strangers that become friends your comfort zone grows larger. When campers leave camp and re-enter life at home, they carry that larger comfort some with them. Attending a summer camp is a fantastic opportunity to expand your comfort zone.
Reconnect with the natural world
The daily lives of children and teens today are busy and structured. Days tend to be filled with school, sports, after school activities and screen time. These busy days leave little time to get outside and “hang out” in nature. A summer camp experience is a fantastic way for kids to reconnect with the natural world. Connecting with the nature and the natural world helps kids connect with themselves and those around them. Whether it’s a hike in the woods, a camping trip to a lake or an outdoor rock-climbing activity – summer spending time in natural world is good for kids. According to the words of Walt Whitman: “Now I see the secret to making the best persons. It’s to grown them in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth”.
Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream-Work
Whether it’s being a member of a belay team during rock climbing or playing soccer or doing dishes after dinner with your “crew”, summer camp offers many opportunities for kids to work together as a team. When you are a member of an effective team you learn to sacrifice a little bit of what you want for the betterment of the team. When the team succeeds kids feel a combined sense of accomplishment. That combined sense of accomplishment is fun, feels good and builds meaningful connects based on a combined experience. Summer Camp is a great way for kids and teens to learn real life lessons about the value of teamwork
How to put down your phone and communicate and connect
Steve Jobs introduced the Apple Iphone in 2007… a lot has changed since then. “Screen Time” and “Screenagers” are part of the common vernacular these days. Many children and “tweens” have grown up with smart phones and tablets as part of their daily lives. They are often referred to as “technology natives”. Growing up this way had led to the unintended consequence of kids becoming reliant on their screens at the expense of personal interactions. You often hear of kids texting each other even when they are in the same room. Most summer camps do not allow phones of any kid. That means that a Summer Camp experience offers kids, tweens and teens the opportunity to put down their phones and communicate and connect on a personal level.
Live, Laugh and have fun everyday
A summer camp experience can be fun and funny. Whether it’s an organized team building activity lead by camp counselors who feel like friends or just hanging out with friends in the cabin it seems there is always something fun or funny going on at camp. Thus reminds kids, tweens and teens to not take themselves so seriously. Laughter is great medicine for the soul and helps relieve anxiety and foster friendships that can last a lifetime.
When kids attend a summer camp, they have to navigate the social dynamic of camp independent of their family and friends. Summer Camp provides a safe and secure environment where kids grow, have fun and gain confidence. As they days flow by at camp kids will naturally feel more comfortable with people and place with their newly found sense of independence. These experiences are transferable to school and life when kids return home from camp.