Sunday Snippet: Camp Is Great For Campers!
The benefits of a camp experience can never be overstated. Nonetheless, it can be overwhelming for a parent to make the decision to send their child away, especially these days when the popular notion is to keep your children close and monitor (and control!) every interaction. But as many parents have learned, providing opportunities for our children to explore their independence paves the way for tremendous dividends when the child heads to college and into the real world.
A recent article slid across our desk that highlighted just how beneficial a camp experience is – and it noted some of the benefits parents often unexpectedly enjoy when their child if off at camp! In her Today’s Parent article, The Benefits of Sending Your Kid To Overnight Camp (February 4, 2019), contributor Lisa Kadane offers her first-hand perspective of sending her two children to overnight camp this past summer.
Ms. Kadane attended camp as a child, so she understood the impact of the camp experience, but still felt the pangs of guilt that often occur when a parent sends their child to camp for the first time. So she has taken the time to share her thoughts in hopes of encouraging parents who have no camp experience to explore this wonderful opportunity for their children.
Here are some of the benefits she has shared:
Sleepover camp boosts kids’ confidence
For many kids, overnight camp is their first time away from home. “It gives them an opportunity to flex and build that self-confidence they’re going to need in life,” says Russ Paton, program director and manager of Silver Lake Forest Education Society.
Sleepover camp builds resilience
At the same time, kids have opportunities to build resilience by occasionally struggling when they try new activities. “You get to take chances and risks,” says Marc Cooper, camp director of Camp Tamarack in Muskoka, Ont. “You might not be good at everything, but you can try everything. And you might fail—you might not get the part in the play or make the soccer team. That’s a different type of first and an important lesson.”
Overnight camp is where kids make friends and boost their social skills
The social dynamics are easier to maneuver without phones and screens, and most overnight camps ban the devices and promote a kind of organized “unplugging.” Cooper says having real face time and in-person group chats around a campfire are important for building social skills. It’s also inclusive—counselors work hard to ensure all campers are part of the fun, so they get away from the anxiety of how many friends or likes they have on social media. “You’re disconnecting from that, and you’re also connecting with nature. You realize you don’t need 50 different apps—all you need is a group of friends and a path to walk,” says Cooper.
They’ll spend tons of time in nature
It’s the combination of unplugging the phone while plugging in to the natural world that Kim Carson loves most about sleep-away camp. “For me, the number one benefit of camp is my kids being in the outdoors for two weeks,” explains Carson. “They’re completely immersed in nature, and they’re removed from screens, phones and televisions.”
A new kid comes home
Kim Carson continues, “When they come back, there’s just a level of enthusiasm about them. They’re happy; they laugh; they’re full of stories and songs,” she says. She notices they trade in their jaded end-of-school tone for a fresh, positive outlook that sets the stage for the rest of the summer.
We see these impacts occur in hundreds of girls each summer at WeHaKee Camp for Girls. And we hear from parents that felt apprehensive and anxious when initially sending their daughter camp, they were overjoyed that they did when they daughters returned home from their overnight camp experience.
If you’ve never attended camp, but are intrigued about expanding the possibilities for your child, we encourage you to explore the life changing experience that is camp!
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!