Director Jud's Blog

How Extreme Sports at Teen Summer Camps Can Help in Youth Development

Posted by Jud Millar on Wed, Feb 15, 2017

How Extreme Sports Can Help in Youth Development

Extreme sports are not only for thrill-seekers, they may even have benefits for the countless youths who are attracted to these activities. While it is true that many parents have become fixated on the safety of children and teens enjoying these sports, there might be a side to it that they have not looked at. It’s not only the perceived harm that can occur to extreme sports participants, it is also the skills and mindset they acquire while doing them.


Defining Extreme Sports

Adventure or extreme sports are broadly defined as ‘individualistic sports containing structural components of real or perceived danger’ (Heggie and Caine, 2012). In the last decade, there has been an explosion of extreme sports participation among both youths and adults. These adventure sports include water rafting, sailing, SUPing, canoeing, mountain, biking, rock climbing, hiking and horseback riding, among others.


Skyrocketing Interest in Extreme Sports


The reasons for the increased interest in extreme sports includes the popularity of elite athletes, exposure to adventure sports show such as X-Games, inclusion of snowboarding in the Winter Olympics and continued media efforts to promote this type of recreation. These factors influence the interest of young people, who are the main participants in extreme sports.


Benefits to Young People

Engaging in extreme sports is highly associated with risks that could translate into serious injuries and deaths. However, there are perceived benefits, too for getting into these activities. 



New Call-to-actionAnything that can get young people moving benefits them by physically expending energy and preventing health issues from occurring as they grow older. Lack of movement can lead to childhood obesity which is a good predictor of adult obesity. Although the overall levels of inactivity in the US dropped from 28.3% in 2014 to 27.7% in 2015, there are still around 81.6 m Americans who are not moving or active at all. Fortunately, among the young (millennials, Gen X and Gen Z), inactivity has decreased. 


New Call-to-actionWith physical activity, sedentariness is reduced as well as time spent on static recreation and unhealthy snacking. For example, wakeboarding is a great exercise, improving coordination and balance while enhancing strength. It helps to improve reaction times and swimming skills. White Water Rafting, canoeing and sailing are some types of extreme sports that improve strength and enhance endurance. These sports also help improve agility and flexibility.


Psychological and Emotional

New Call-to-actionThe nature of extreme sports demands high levels of mental concentration and calculating risks very carefully. It is also about conquering fears and boosting self-confidence once the hurdles are eliminated. An Australian study confirmed that extreme sports can be good for the health, reducing anxiety and overcoming fear (Brymer and Schweitzer, 2012). Rock climbing, for instance, improves mental control although it is a high-risk activity.


Social Development 


Suicide, which is a leading cause of death as identified by the CDC, is reduced because of the psychological benefits derived from sports in general. Sports dull feelings of hopelessness and despair. While extreme sports are individualistic in nature, friendships among fellow sports enthusiasts and peer interactions can increase social interaction and support.



The number one concern of extreme sports for youths is safety with more than 4 million injuries linked to these sports in the period of 2001-2011 (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System). Serious head and neck injuries are attributed to extreme sports (Sabesan, 2014). In addition, there is serious apprehension that kids are not mentally ready for these types of activities which make the sports unsuitable for very young children.  Moreover, there is no regulation at all in the sports, but it is already a challenge to define what is considered extreme or adventure.


Summer Camp

Attending a summer camp for teens can be a fantastic way to participate in extreme sports.  Overnight summer camps fr teen have trained and certified instructors who will provide the safety and structure needed to participate in extreme sports safely.  There are many options when it comes to teen summer camps including 

  • Day Camps
  • Overnight Summer Camps
  • Single Gender Camps
  • Co-ed Overnight Summer Camps
  • Teen Summer Camps that focus on one Extreme Sport
  • General Overnight Summer Camps for Teenagers that offer many Extreme Sports along with more mellow options as well such as community service, creative arts performing arts and more.


About Director Jud's Blog

This blog will give you the "411" about everything that is Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp!  Everything from "Summer Updates" to useful family and camp resources.  Check it out! 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all