Sunday Snippet: Camp Kids Make Great Adults
Parents who have not sent their children to camp nor have attended themselves, often find the concept of summer camp to be quite foreign.“Why would I send my child away from me to place I’ve never been to with people I hardly know… for weeks at a time?” If you are a caring and loving parent, it’s a very legitimate question. Especially if one sees camp as a fairly basic, superficial childhood experience where kids come together, have a lot of fun, maybe learn a thing or two or try something new… and then head back home. But camp offers our children and young adults so much more.
The highly respected Search Institute has created a comprehensive list of 40 Developmental Assets that research has shown can lead to children to successful and happy adult lives. Not surprisingly, a summer camp experience like WeHaKee Camp for Girls provides access to many of these, such as…
- Other Adult Relationships | Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults. At camp, each child will be supported by a variety of non-parent, including their cabin counselors, activity instructors, and others throughout the camp community.
- Caring | Young Person places a high value on helping other people. Building community is the cornerstone of high-quality camp programs and camps like WeHaKee enable that community by creating a culture that embraces helping others.
- Responsibility | Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. With the guidance and support of their counselors, campers learn to manage their personal hygiene, clean up their personal belongings, help clean up after activities and meals, and so on throughout camp.
- Planning and Decision Making | Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. Campers learn to organize themselves for the day by getting their gear ready for the day’s activities, by engaging in planning with their cabin mates, by choosing what food will be best for them at that meal.
- Interpersonal Competence | Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. With the aid of positive and competent role models, campers learn to care for others and to make friends with people different from them.
- Cultural Competence | Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds. Campers come from different communities and socio-economic status. They may be of different cultures or races and believe in different faiths. Camps like WeHaKee give them the opportunity to first see their commonalities and then learn to embrace their differences as new and exciting discoveries!
- Personal Power | Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” Campers gain a sense of belonging in the camp environment like WeHaKee and they see how they can positively control how things happen to them and around them.
- Sense of Purpose | Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.” By embracing the sense of belonging, the camper feels empowered to be a part of and influence the community.
- Positive View of Personal Future | Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future. By learning to be a positive and important part of her community, each camper gains a sense of control over their environment and future.
It is a unique experience for children and young adults to explore themselves beyond home and without parental direction. But it is important to note that the camp experience does not diminish the parent-child relationship, but help your children grow into young adults. Camp parents consistently report that their children return home from camp more energized to engage in the family community, often sharing all the new things they discovered about themselves when they were away. It is a big step for a parent to send a child off to camp, but it is an exceptional way to provide them with a growth experience not available in any other setting.
As our accrediting body, the American Camp Association states “Camp Gives Kids A World Of Good”. On so many levels! Have a great week everyone!