Each day, campers enjoy trying new activities but what many people don’t realize is that camp is a unique learning environment that contributes to the positive development of children. Below are the top 7 reasons children need the camp experience to help them gain important life skills that will help them to grow into successful adults.
- Children discover their interests. Whether it’s getting on a horse for the first time or kayaking across the lake, camp allows children to try new things and learn about what they like to do. Children also step out of their comfort zones at camp and participate in activities that may at feel scary to them. According to research by the American Camp Association, 74% of campers said that at camp, they did something that at first they were scared to do.
- Gain independence. Both day and overnight camp allows children a healthy separation from their parents. When children are away from their parents, they learn to trust their own instincts and make decisions on their own. Whether by choosing an elective period on their own or solving a disagreement with a bunk make without their parents’ assistance, children build confidence by doing things on their own.
- Gain important skills 21st century employers are seeking. While school is an important learning environment for skills such as reading and math, the skills employers are looking for are the soft skills. According to research by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, a group of Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Dell and Microsoft, the skills 21st century employers are looking for are communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity which are all skills that are fostered at camp.
- Take a break from technology. A Kaiser Family Foundation study has found that today’s children spend over 7.5 hours a day engaged in media. When children spend their time behind a screen or texting all day, they miss out on important social interactions. The majority of summer camps don’t allow technology including ipads, smart phones, laptops and TVs. This means no Instagram and snapchat, allowing children to communicate face to face and participate in hands on activities.
- Build Resilience. It’s important for children to develop resilience for coping with the obstacles and stresses that inevitably will happen in their lives. When a child doesn’t at first make it to the top of the climbing wall at first or is homesick the first week of camp, he or she is building resilience and learning that not everything is always going to go the way you want it to but that is ok.
- Make new friends. Children make friends easily at camp. Children share in singing camp songs, traditions and bond while participating in fun camp activities such as tug of war and go-karts. Campers become part of a camp community where they eat together and at overnight camp, sleep in the same bunk. Camp also allows children to meet campers from outside of their community. American Camp Association research found that 96% of campers said that camp helped them make new friends and 93% of campers said camp helped them get to know kids who are different from them. Children can reinvent themselves at camp. At home, children go to school with the same children for years and some children may be labeled as the shy or the athletic child. At day or overnight camp, children are surrounded by new people and they can reinvent themselves.
- Gain Confidence. Camp provides children with many opportunities to build confidence. American Camp Association research has found that 92% of campers said that camp helped them feel good about themselves and 70% of parents reported that their child gained self-confidence at camp. When a child goes under water for the first time or swims across the pool without stopping, he or she gains confidence by accomplishing something they didn’t think they could do.
Read more here: https://achildgrows.com/blog/2017/02/summer-camp/