If you ever went to summer camp as a kid, you likely aren’t surprised to hear the benefits of going to camp and you’ve experienced first-hand the way camp can change you. But if you’ve never experienced a summer camp, it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of sending your kid away for an overnight camp for a week or longer. Here are our top five reasons why your kid should go to camp this summer.
If you’ve spoken to anyone who is an avid summer camper, you may have heard the phrase “camp friends are the best friends”. People who have spent summers away at camp have learned exactly why that is true. At school, kids are often attending classes with the same peers year after year, making it hard for them to break out of their normal groups. School is hard with social pressures, cliques and a lot of structure and your child may struggle to make friends or find people that they really click with.
Camp is a place away from all the normal social expectations and pressures that your child may face in the “real world”. Summer camp gets kids to come out of their shell and be themselves by encouraging participation in silly activities like skits and campfire songs. A strong kind of bonding happens at camp that doesn’t happen anywhere else because kids are living together and experiencing activities that they’ve never tried before. Camp friends truly become friends that you keep for the rest of your life because they’ve gotten to know you away from all the structures of life and in your most authentic environment.
A week away at camp may be the very first time your child has spent any period of time away from you longer than just an overnight sleepover. This will be their first time having the opportunity to make decisions for themselves without you or their teachers guiding their every move. Campers get to decide what they do and don’t want to eat at meals, what activities they want to participate in and more.
Camp also helps children build confidence and self-esteem. In their normal lives, there’s athletic, academic and social competition that pressures and shapes their lives. At camp, there are a variety of opportunities for children to succeed and achieve many accomplishments, which can give a shy kid the boost that they need to come out of their shell. Don’t be surprised if your normally reserved and quiet child comes home a completely changed person!
Unplug From the “Real World”
Summer camp gives your child a week in nature, away from the constant pull of technology and social media. When kids take a break from TV, cellphones and the internet, they discover all there is to interact with in the world. They’ll engage in face-to-face interaction with other kids and positive role models in their counselors. They will learn to embrace their creativity and enjoy the little things, like building forts in the woods or making friendship bracelets. After surviving a week with no technology, they may just be less reliant on it once they get back to their normal life.
Experience New Activities
There is no shortage of new activities for your child to try at summer camp. Camp pushes children out of their comfort zone and provides them an assortment of new activities and experiences that they may not be familiar with. From racing their friend down the zipline to learning to shoot a bow and arrow to getting to try their hand at woodworking, your child will have many opportunities to try something new that they wouldn’t otherwise do. If you are from the city or even the suburbs, your kid may not have had a lot of chance to get out into nature. Camp is the perfect place for them to experience hiking in the woods, camping under the stars and sitting around a campfire, creating childhood memories that they’ll never forget.
Build Character and Life Skills
The growth that a child experiences at summer camp goes beyond just learning to love the outdoors and making friends. Campers learn a lot of life skills and build character that will carry on with them for the rest of their lives. They learn how to work as a team and coexist with other campers in one cabin, especially when they all have to pitch in for cabin clean-up. They’ll gain leadership and problem-solving skills through the different challenges that camp life throws at them. When your camper comes home, you might find that they treat others with more kindness, understand the importance of giving and are more willing to step up and be responsible.
If you’re ready to let your kid experience the magic of summer camp, register them for a week of fun at YMCA’s Camp Twin Lakes. Give them a summer they won’t forget!