Every year children go to overnight summer camps for the experiences of a lifetime. As your child gets older he or she may outgrow or age out of their camp. When that happens, it might be time to consider a teenage summer camp. Attending a summer camp teens can have profound positive effects on your teen now and later in life. Here are just some of the many benefits of choosing a summer camp for teens:
Teen Focused Activities
Because there are no children at camp, all activities and events can be teen focused. Directors at teenage summer camps are able to focus all of their programming specifically for teenagers. From evening activities to white water rafting to team build events, all activities and events at summer camps for teens are designed on a level that is more physically, intellectually, and emotionally challenging. However, keeping these daring young people safe on the inside AND the outside is paramount. Because of this campers are much more engaged and excited about all the activities at camp. Teens are physically able to do more than elementary age campers and emotionally more mature. Most teens also prefer to do camp activities and interact with others their own age.
Learn New Skills
Participants at teenage summer camp enjoy a day full of physical activity. Counselors can focus more on skill development during activity times because campers are older and able to sustain for longer amounts of time. It doesn’t matter if your teen attends a sports camp, an adventure camp, or a program that offers a little bit of everything, a summer camp will teach new skills and positive ways to interact with others. Being active is also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and the best way to prevent early obesity. The experience may also help your teen find a hobby or a life passion that he or she otherwise may never have known about.
Fewer Cliques as Campers Have Not Been There Since Childhood
Many summer camps have age ranges from 7 to 17, while summer camps for teenagers are just for teens (obviously). This means that by the time campers and their friends reach their teenage years many of them have already been at camp for 6 to 8 years. If you send your teenager to this kind of camp as a first-time camper it can be really challenging for him or her to break into the social scene and make friends. This is not the case at teen summer camps where there are typically many campers there who will be attending for the first time as a 12-, 13-, 14-, 15- or 16-year-old.
Personal Responsibility, Accountability and Independence
Camp is a great way for kids to learn how to do things on their own. When parents aren’t there to remind teens and tweens to brush their teeth, eat healthy foods or put sunscreen on, it becomes the teen’s responsibility to make good choices for their health which in turn the reinforces benefits and consequences. Sometimes hearing these daily reminders from another adult (a counselor or director) allows the message to sink in and teens return home with a shifted attitude towards performing these tasks independently. In addition, staff keep campers accountable for their actions with regard to behavior and interactions with fellow campers. Even the most dependent teen can learn to rely on himself when he spends time away from mom and dad. One of the benefits of exposing your teen to an overnight camp experience is that when he returns home, you may notice that he tackles some of his daily chores and responsibilities without you constantly having to remind him.
A good teenage summer camp program offers much more than activities and arts and crafts. It offers a strong, value centered community for your teen to join. This community is made up of fellow campers, camp counselors, instructors, and the camp director. While away at a resident camp, your teen will learn to work with other campers and get along with kids from a variety of backgrounds. For example, campers may learn to work together to keep their cabin clean, work together on a community service project, or work to help one another learn a new skill like paddling a canoe or belaying a rock climber. Campers at a teen summer camp must learn to work peacefully, collaborate with peers and adults, and be an effective member of a team.
Even if your child has been to overnight camp before, it can be difficult for teens when they don't know anyone else there. But a good program will make it easy for kids to find friends fast. There’s nothing that forms friendships quite like living together in a cabin at camp. A camp friendship may last a lifetime or only a summer, but either way camp offers teens the opportunity to branch out from their regular circle of friends and learn to connect with other people in positive ways. It’s not always easy for a bunch of teens to share a small space together, but it forms essential life skills such as sharing and appreciating a diverse community of people. Because of this many campers claim that they are closer to their “camp friends” than their “school friends.”
Slow Down and "Unplug"
When kids take a break from t.v., cell phones, and the internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities, and real emotions. They realize there’s always plenty to do. Many summer camps do not allow electronic devices, cell phones, iPods, or other plugged-in distractions. It may sound harsh to you and your teen, but the advantage is that without electronic toys your teen will learn to slow down and appreciate other worthy experiences. Living life in the slow lane for a little while gives your child the opportunity to find hobbies, rediscover the wonder of reading, or appreciate the beauty of all things around her.
Appreciate the Small Things
A week or two away from home and all its comforts may help your teen appreciate all that home offers – a warm bed, a refrigerator full of snacks, a bathroom of one’s own, television, etc. A few weeks away at a summer camp may convince your teen that life at home isn't all that bad. It's also possible that a summer camp for teens can help your child appreciate that all he really needs to be happy is a warm place to sleep, healthy food, the company of a few good friends, and a caring adult to help guide him through life.
Learn to appreciate YOU!
It’s easy for kids to take parents for granted, and teens are especially talented at assuming mom and dad exist only for their convenience. But a teen that spends two weeks or four weeks away at summer camp may learn to appreciate all his parents do for him. The little extras such as making his favorite dishes for dinner or driving him to and from soccer practice may suddenly be appreciated.
Attending a summer camps for teens is beneficial to the social, mental, and physical health of growing tweens and teenagers. The whole family can benefit from a teenage summer camp!