Sunday Snippet: Camp Is A Well Rounded Experience!
Preparations for another summer along with more fun experience at the shores of Hunter Lake at WeHaKee Camp for Girls are in high gear with just days before the first staff arrives. Throughout this fast-paced work trying to get every last detail in place, we are reminded that creating the magical camp environment is all about building a community; a community with infrastructure and facilities; a community with basic needs; and a community made up of all sorts of different kinds of people! All the pieces must come together in a delicate symmetry to form the perfect camp community.
And when all that happens, it creates an environment that helps each child grow in lots of different directions. Campers grow by learning new skills as they get to do things they may never consider or simply don’t have access to in their home communities. Campers learn to handle many of their basic needs on their own. They learn to clean up after themselves and to clean up after others… without complaint! They learn to better manage their own personal hygiene and how to figure out the most appropriate clothes for different activities and events. All great things that parents notice when their child returns from a summer at WeHaKee.
Remarkably, there’s is so much more that makes the camp experience so incredibly invaluable. Campers learn to manage relationships with one another as well as with adults. They learn how to be more comfortable introducing themselves to someone new. They learn how to listen to get to know others better. They learn how to negotiate and compromise with others. And they learn that relationships often experience conflict and that conflict is uncomfortable – it creates challenging & difficult feelings! But fortunately, at camp, girls learn how to manage those feelings more effectively so that they can work more efficiently to resolve conflicts when they occur.
But wait! There’s more!! The soft skills campers experience and achieve at camp become ingrained in their life beyond camp helping them become more successful in school and well into adulthood. And these are the skills employers as well as increasingly more college recruiters are seeking in applicants. Camp is really about preparing each child for life!
Others agree! Washington Post contributor, Laura Clydesdale recently shared her observations about the comprehensive power of camp. In I Send My Kids to Sleep-Away Camp to Give Them a Competitive Advantage in Life (The Washington Post, May 9, 2016), Ms. Clysdesdale shares:
We don’t think this is a mistake at all. It might not be something to put on the college application (unless my child eventually becomes a counselor), but that isn’t the goal for us. Our goal is bigger. We are consciously opting out of the things-to-put-on-the-college-application arms race, and instead betting on three huge benefits of summer camp, which we believe will give them a true competitive advantage — in life:
1. Building creativity.
2. Developing broadly as a human being.
3. Not-living-in-my-basement-as-an-adult independence.
By the way, when I interviewed college admissions officers about how they view campers, they say that they think former campers are more likely to succeed in college because they have had successful experiences away from home, and they are always impressed by seniors who have been counselors looking after younger children. Camp helps build confidence and identity; it also builds leadership skills.
Dr. Thompson is also the author of Homesick and Happy, a great read for parents who may have some anxiety about sending their children to camp for the first time!
The camp experience is beneficial on so many levels, but to our kids, it’s simply fun and exciting. And when they’re having exciting fun, the learning and growth they unknowingly experience is profound and life-changing. A summer at camp is one of the most well-rounded opportunities a parent can provide their child!
Thanks for reading and have a great week!