By Jess Michaels
Sending your child to day or overnight camp is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. Camp is a unique environment built specifically for children that will allow them to gain life skills that can’t be learned in any other environment and will also help them to develop into happy, well-rounded adults. Check out just a few of the things that makes summer camp so amazing.
1. Children gain independence –Whether at day or overnight camp, children make decisions on their own without the help of their parents. Children learn to trust their decisions and gain confidence in knowing they can decide certain things on their own.
2. Children try new activities – Children are exposed to many new activities at summer camp and they try them in a safe environment built specifically for them. Research by the American Camp Association has shown that 63% of children who tried new activities at camp continue to participate in some of those activities after they go home.
3. Build resilience – Camp provides many opportunities for children to build resilience. If a camper is homesick in the beginning of camp and then days later, having the best time, they learn that they are able to work through something and come out stronger. When at first, a child is scared to climb the climbing wall but makes it to the top after practicing day after day, he or she is building resilience which is a skill that will help them get through the ups and downs that are inevitable in life.
4. Take a break from technology – According to a Kaiser Foundation study, children between the ages of eight and 18 spend an average of 7+ houses a day engaged in digital media. Camp gives children a healthy break from technology, allowing them to communicate face to face instead of texting and enjoy the outdoors instead of being behind a screen all day.
5. Children build confidence – There are many opportunities for children to build confidence at camp. By trying new activities and succeeding, children feel good about themselves. Whether it’s the first time a child puts his head under water or building up the courage to go down the zipline, camp is all about making children feel good about themselves.
6. Become part of a community – Children become part of a caring and supportive community at camp. Year after year, campers share in the traditions of the camp and become part of a summer camp family.
7. Make new friends – Camp is a place where it’s easy to make new friends and form deep friendships. Children participate in fun activities together, eat together as a bunk, share in camp traditions and at overnight camp, sleep in the same cabin together. American Camp Association research shows that 96% of campers said they made new friends at camp.
8. Gain life skills need to be a successful adult – According to research done by the Partnership for 21st Century learning, the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century include communication, creativity, leadership, responsibility, and collaboration—all skills incorporated into many summer camp programs. At camp, children develop these skills needed to become secure, contributing and successful adults.
Need assistance finding the right camp for your child? Contact Renee Flax at the American Camp Association, NY and NJ for free, one-on- one advice at 212.391.5208.