Sunday Snippet: Camp, The Ultimate Soft-Skill Laboratory!
One could easily consider the camp environment as one big laboratory for campers to experiment new ways to make their lives better. But I don’t think campers would be wanting to sign up today if we presented camp as simply a science lab. Some might perhaps, but overall it would likely prove to be a fairly weak marketing maneuver! But if parents consider camp as a place for their child to explore, try out and gather new ways to handle life more effectively, it will reduce the anxiety they often feel that rises at the thought of sending their children off on their own for a couple of weeks away from their watchful eye!
Under an umbrella of fun and support, WeHaKee is a great place for campers to experiment and reinvent themselves by actively learning new skills to deal with the challenging situations that come their way. At WeHaKee Camp for Girls, we are intentional in creating an environment that helps each camper acquire a sense of belonging the moment they arrive at camp. This in turn empowers each child to push their own personal boundaries by trying new activities and making new friends. As they do this, a self-supporting cycle begins helping each girl to go farther and farther in healthy risk-taking and experimentation.
One of the benefits that campers receive from a supportive and positive camp experience is the development and enhancement of so called soft skills. Many soft skills are generally effective social skills as opposed to hard skills that include academics such as chemistry or geometry. Academics are crucial, but without a solid set of soft-skills, learning and applying hard skills can be ineffective.
A recent long-term research study concluded that learning soft skills as children can be significantly beneficial later in life. In Learning Soft Skills In Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later (Lynn Shallcross, Health News from NPR, Dec. 17, 2015), the author explores how for example, the soft-skill of self-control helps a child take the time to consider consequences of her/his actions, thus reducing the chance of engaging in criminal behavior as a teen or young adult.
Parents of campers consistently report that when their child returns home from camp they observe enhanced skills in things such as helping others, managing their anger, appropriate table manners, working with others, empathy, being welcoming, self-control, asking for help, and more. The camp environment provides positive role models, nurturing support and multiple areas to explore and experiment with new skills. Campers are less afraid of making mistakes in front of their peers at camp allowing them to try out new ways of doing things without the fear of ridicule or teasing.
The camp environment such as is available at WeHaKee is by far one of the richest environments for a child to acquire and enhance their set of critical soft skills. In addition, our campers return home with greater independence, confidence, and a deeper sense of what is the right thing to do. And as always, they’re having so much fun they have no idea how much they’re growing!
Thanks for joining us and have a great week!