Now is the time to Commit! You have heard about all the benefits Overnight Summer Camp can provide a child. Still, it seems a strange concept to send your child away to Swift Nature Camp and in other people's care. Yet time and time again, parents see that their child returns home different (better) than before he or she left. How can this be? What is this Camp Magic?
As a parent, these are the questions that went through my head as I sent my child to a different overnight summer camp. Does sending my kid away mean I do not love them? Does it mean I am selfish? Does it mean I am a BAD parent?
Actually sending your child to Overnight summer camp means none of these things. Often parents need to hear again all the benefits of summer camp, here are a few:
9. Kids are active – These days a child's life is sedentary in school, online and inside. Every moment at camp is filled with motion, from play to learning or even walking to the bathroom.
8. Experience successes – Camp's main goal is to build kids up. So at SNC we find what kids can succeed and that helps them feel more confident.
7. Gain resiliency – Life is filled with setbacks. At camp setbacks can be handled in a positive way. For instance, a group may have a difficult canoe trip, yet together they persevered and made it. Knowing you can make it is an amazing lesson.
6. Unplug – Technology has taken over our life. No time in history have children been so connected to it. In the old days kids watched TV for 2-3 hours a day now a screen is watched 7-9 hrs a day. Get back to real connections.
5. Independent – This day and age kids are scheduled most of the day. Camp gives children the ability to make choices for themselves. A skill needed in life. Wrong decisions can be gently handled and right decisions applauded by peers and non parental units.
4. Play – In nature animals learn by play. We all love watching the wolf pups play, but they are really getting ready for life. Same is true with children, they learn by having unorganized free play. Something that was a staple in kids growing up in the past. Camp still provides this in a safe, child friendly atmosphere.
3. Social skills – Living in a communal setting, like camp, provides amazing opportunities for children to learn personal skills like, empathy, resolving disagreements, teamwork and healthy communication.
2. Enjoy nature – Kids lives have become an indoor life. Nature is missing and all the research shows this is having a negative effect on today's kids. Higher stress, obesity and insecurity. Nature supports healthy child development and enriches kid’s perception of the world.
1. Friendships–Swift Nature Camp has only one mission to help children be their best. We do this in a fun and supportive way. By building friendships with people that truly care. we help child make better friends. Campers will tell you their best friends are at camp. Why? When you live with people, you learn to accept them, you build tolerance and over time your difference become bonds. The result is a summer family.
So as you are thinking about the adventure your child will be on this summer, don't rule out the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Swift Nature Camp.
Every summer millions of children go to overnight summer camp. But Why? Oh sure, some parents just need day care. But the vast majority of parents that are thinking about sending their child to overnight summer camp, do not take this responsibility lightly. They do their research by: going to camp fairs, talking to friends, taking camp tours and chatting with references. Why do all this? Because when you select the right Overnight Summer Camp for your child, it will be a life changer and an experience they will want to repeat summer after summer. Maybe thats why children from all around the world come to USA Summer Camps
So how does summer camp change kids lives? Not every camp is the same, so I can only speak about our overnight summer camp. Swift Nature Camp is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We cater to children 6–15, with a leadership program for our 16 & 17 year old campers. Our small camp blends old-fashioned camp activities on land and water, with environmental and nature learning. Plus we have a camp zoo, where children who love animals can even adopt one while they are at camp.
Here are ways that children’s lives are changed because of camp:
1) Great Staff- When you get young people who are dedicated to kids full time, your child feels it. Camp counselors have boundless energy and enthusiasm- something parents often loose as they get older. It’s like having the best big sister or brother in the world who really cares about you. They want you to be your best. So children look up to these counselors and since they are role modeling positive values, your child will pick those up and bring them home.
2) Communal Living- Yes, your child will be living in a cabin with 5–8 other children of their own age, building new friendships and developing strong new social circles. For most children this is a new experience. When you live with others, you have to be a little less worried about yourself and be thinking more about others. That is part of the natural progression of kids from self to others. Camp pushes them a little further along this road.
3) Nature-This day and age we live our lives inside. There is a big beautiful world out there that children should learn about and they should not be afraid of. All of science is saying, humans need to be connected to their environment, enjoy the beauty of the simple things in life. That’s why at SNC, we often take our kids to the lake to quietly enjoy a sunset.
4) Independence- Today we have so many types of parents, and often we see loving parents that hold their children back, not intentionally. But, sometimes they just don’t see that kids need and want to get out on their own, make decisions on their own and try new things. A Nature Camp is a safe place to try things, make mistakes and move on. This is all part of growing up and camp is the safe and supervised place this takes place.
5) Play is an amazing tool. It helps children get exercise, loose weight and feel better. More important, Free Play can help children resolve conflict, problem solve and be creative. Daily, at camp have 1.5 hours dedicated to free play, where campers can do the activities they want to do. This is like the old days, when children could just go outside and play.
One thing we hear from parents every summer is “I wish I would have sent my child to Swift Nature Camp sooner” you see, childhood is a once-off thing. Too soon it’s over, and you can’t reclaim the years, but you can look back on incredible memories. That’s why summer camp is so important — it’s a fun, positive experience where children can simply be children and have the time of their lives. Overnight summer camp is a vital part of a child’s personal growth and development
It’s the small size and attention to detail that makes camp so successful at promote each child’s personal development. Sending your child to Swift Nature Camp is a gift, one your child will cherish for the rest of their life. Maybe that’s why 92% of our campers want to return each summer to this Wisconsin Summer Camp.
“First teach the child the value of work, not regimented play...
teach him that a sunset over a verdant countryside has more
intrinsic value than the most costly painting...teach him that
bread comes from the soil and not from the store”
Ernie Swift was raised on the windswept prairies of south-western Minnesota. His years on the family farm honed a vivid imagination, and he credited those years with helping him to develop a deep understanding of the importance of conservation. Nature was Ernie Swift’s teacher, he never received a forma college education, yet he rose through and had substantial influence on the conservation movement in the early days. Being one of the first wardens for the State of Wisconsin these days were filled with adventure. . His northwoods arrests included “Machine Gun Frank: McErlane, a couple of the Al Capone gang. In those early days Ernie was threatened more than once at gun point and even had mobsters show up at his home.
Swift developed a reputation as a fearless game warden in Wisconsin’s northwoods during the 1920s and 1930s. He was seen as a individualist, and was not afraid to walk alone through cold, dark woods, fields and marshes to uphold the law. Not surprisingly, Swift was not one to stand still,he was unafraid to walk ahead of the crowd as his career and the movement in conservation evolved.
In the 1930s, Aldo Leopold was beginning to build a name for himself as an environmentalist. Swift and he forged a lasting professional and personal relationship. At that time, Swift had left his warden responsibilities and become deputy director of the Wisconsin Conservation Department. In the early 1940s their was a deer management debate within the state. Swift and Leopold agreed that, that scientific research should guide management of the herd and the ecosystem. This did put Swift at odds with old colleagues, but he did what he felt was right not what his friends wanted. It was his work on management of the deer herd that is credited with helping set Wisconsin as a leader of wildlife management.
In 1947, Swift was appointed director of the Conservation Department, what today is known as the Department of Natural Resources, . He was tenacious trying to preserve and protect Wisconsin's natural resources, In those days, America was young and seen as endless, giving little support for the notion of resource management.
Wisconsin was just the place for Ernie to hone his skills. It was in 1954 that his career leapfrogged to the national level. He was appointed assistant director of the US Fish and
Wildlife Service in Washington, DC. A year later, he moved out of public service. Ernie had always been one to tell it like it is and that just does not mix well with Washington. When he was offered the the appointment as director of the National Wildlife Federation. he jumped at the chance. For nearly five years, he helped lay the groundwork for the growth of the country's largest conservation organization. His work also helped shape the first U.S. Wilderness Act, which created the National Wilderness Preservation System.
What made Swift special was his conviction and his ability to communicate with people. It was this knowledge that gave him courage and motivation to become a speaker and writer in favor of the conservation movement. Swift had influenced many through his essays, articles, editorials, and reports. He wrote regularly for National Wildlife magazine and Conservation News, two of the Federation's periodicals. "The Glory Trail: The Great American Migration and Its Impact on Natural Resources" was written in the late 1950's and historically looked at resource management in the U.S. In 1967, A Conservation Saga was published an autobiography, only a year before his death.
During his lifetime Ernie Swift received more than 20 awards and citations, he won the Haskell Noyes Conservation Warden Award in 1930, was honored with the Aldo Leopold Medal in 1959, and a Gold Medallion (the first ever given in the conservation field) from the Wisconsin Exposition Department in 1966. Many of his awards are hanging at Swift Nature Camp in Minong Wisconsin
In 1966 The Department of Natural Resources dedicated the YCC camp to Ernie Swift as a Conservation Summer Camp and in 1996 was renamed Swift Nature Camp To learn more about Mr. E.F. Swift, see the Dinning Hall at Camp.
As Summer Camp Directors we are always looking at trends in parenting and how it is going. Recently Simon Sinek had this video posted. If you know someone born in the mid 1980 to early 2000 this is about them. For many of us parents, when we watch this video it will help us better understand our own kids and see how we can best help them in the 21st century Having said that it also helps us be better Camp Directors at Swift Nature Camp
Figuring out how to find that summer camp that will besuitable for your child to attend and enjoy can appear daunting at first primarily because of the sheer number of camps to choose from and the range of their programs and offered activities. The key is to find the summer camp that will match your kid's schedule, skills set, age, personality, and interests. Part of responsible parenting is making sure that the camp is run in an appropriate and safe manner. Following are some things that parents can consider first as they begin the process of selecting a summer camp for their children.
Make sure that the camp has proper accreditation from the American Camp Association. - This will ensure that the overnight summer camp complies with the 300 or so best industry guidelines for camper safety, health, and conduct of important practices pertaining to the camp's programs.
Identify the focus of the camp's overall program. Each camp is unique in terms of program emphasis and philosophy. Some camps allow campers the freedom to pick individual activities that they find interesting while other camps may encourage structured group activities with guided or limited choices. Some camps promote competition among the participants and some are intentionally noncompetetive. Some summer camps offer traditional activities with an emphasis on recreation, while others focus on particular areas such as drama, sports, or crafts. Some camps may refine programs to focus on one pursuit exclusively.
Determine the camper to counselor ratio. This is to [make sure|ensure] that your child will get the right supervision and individual attention appropriate for his or her age. ACA recommends a maximum ratio of 8:1 for 6 to 8 year old kids. A 10:1 ratio is ideal for kids aged 9 to 14, while 12:1 ratio is ideal for 15 to 17 year olds. For overnight camps, the fewest possible campers for every counselor is [recommended|ideal]. Ratios may also vary depending on specific camp situations and activities.
Check out the key people on the camp's staff, starting with the director. According to ACA standards, the camp director should ideally be a bachelor's degree holder with extensive camp administration experience. Check for in-service training during the last 36 months. But keep in mind that there is no substitute for meeting a director in person and asking questions. A camp's policies, philosophy, and overall attitude towards campers begins with the dedication of the camp's director.
Find out from the director and staff about how the camp practices discipline and fair play. Find out if there are policies of encouragement, and find out how rules are enforced. The camp experience is a good way to reinforce a child's perception about the basic principles of a social environment other than home and school .
If your child has special needs, make sure that they can be accommodated. Talk to and correspond with the director and the camp nurse, If your prospective camper has a special medical condition such as an allergy or asthma, find out if the camp is capable of handling emergencies that may arise with such cases as well as how a camp approaches general health care issues.
Ask about the camp volunteers or staff and talk to one or two of them if possible. A kid's sleepaway camp experience will depend on a camp staff that, aside from helping facilitate activities act as role models. Staff members need to be trustworthy, reliable and prepared for the work they do. They must also have sufficient first aid and CPR training.
Check out the camp's references. It is important to find out everything you can about other parents' and campers' past experiences with a summer camp. The camp Director|should be very accommodating in providing references where you can check out their reputation and track record. There are also websites that offer evaluations written by parents and former campers and the directors' responses to issues. All forms of reference are by their nature incomplete and imperfect as comprehensive guides for choosing a camp, but they can be very helpful nonetheless.
Here is more details about Picking a Summer Camp .
Provided by Jeff & Lonnie ar Swit Nature Camp
It's REUNION TIME 2017
We hope you can come join all the fun at our Swimming Party Reunion. Don't forget your suit!
This is a wonderful time to see camp friends visit with camp counselors and see the SNC Yearbook Video for the very 1st Time.
Hope you ca make it. No reservation neccessary.
Where: Oak Brook Park District (1450 Forest Gate, Oak Brook, Il 60523)
When: January 8th
Please bring a friend so they can see what the SNC excitment is all about.
Plus we will have a special gift for all that come.
As a parent and a camp director, I often speak with parents that have their child on the fast track. Life has become all about building their child's resume, one filled with Accomplishment and Direction. When I mention I run a summer camp they are often unwilling to hear why camp is an important part of what today's children need. At Swift Nature Camp we are about people building not about building resumes. The better the kids, the better the people. We believe it is people that will change the world not resumes.
Recently the below article was in the Washington Post, maybe this is what I need to print and hand out to those parents... Tell us what you think.
“Do you even like your children?” the woman I had just met asked me.
The audacity of the question took my breath away. I had been chatting with her, explaining that my kids go to sleep-away camp for two months every year.
I quickly realized two things at once: She was obnoxious, and she actually didn’t care if I missed my kids during the summer. She was talking about something else.I didn’t have to tell her the reason I “send them away” for most of the summer is because I like them. They adore camp, and it’s actually harder on me than it is on them. I often tell people that the first year they were both gone, it felt like I had lost an arm. I wandered around the house from room to room experiencing phantom limb pain.
Now, instead of being offended, I got excited.
I was going to be able to tell her something that my husband and I rarely get to explain: We do it because we truly think it will help our kids be successful in life. With under-employment and a stagnating labor market looming in their future, an all-around, sleep-away summer camp is one of the best competitive advantages we can give our children.
Surely, college admissions officers aren’t going to be impressed with killer friendship bracelets or knowing all the words to the never-ending camp song “Charlie on the M.T.A.” Who cares if they can pitch a tent or build a fire?
Indeed, every summer my kids “miss out” on the specialized, résumé-building summers that their peers have. Their friends go to one-sport summer camps and take summer school to skip ahead in math. Older peers go to SAT/ACT prep classes. One kid worked in his dad’s business as an intern, while another enrolled in a summer program that helped him write all his college essays.
Many (this woman included) would say that I’m doing my children a serious disservice by choosing a quaint and out-of-date ideal instead. There are online “Ivy League Coaches” that might say we are making a terrible mistake.
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.
MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson says, in his book “The Second Machine Age,” that we have reached a pivotal moment where technology is replacing skills and people at an accelerated pace. He argues that creativity and innovation are becoming competitive advantages in the race against artificial intelligence, because creativity is something a machine has a hard time replicating.
The problem is that creativity seems so intangible.
Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” He believed that people invent when they connect the dots between the experiences they’ve had. To do this, he argued that we need to have more experiences and spend more time thinking about those experiences.
Indeed. According to Adam Grant’s book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,” researchers at Michigan State University found that to receive the Nobel Prize, you need deep study in your field and those broad experiences Jobs was talking about. They studied the winning scientists from 1901 through 2005 and compared them with typical scientists living at the same time. Grant writes that the Nobel Prize winners were:
* Two times more likely to play an instrument, compose or conduct.
* Seven times more likely to draw, paint or sculpt.
* Seven-and-a-half times more likely to do woodwork or be a mechanic, electrician or glassblower.
* Twelve times more likely to write poetry, plays, novels or short stories.
* And 22 times more likely to be an amateur actor, dancer or magician.
You read that right. Magician.
It’s not just that this kind of original thinker actively seeks out creative pursuits. These original experiences provide a new way of looking at the world, which helped the prize-winners think differently in their day jobs.
The beauty of summer camp is that not only do kids get to do all sorts of crazy new things, they also get to do it in nature, which lends its own creative boost.
Most importantly, my kids have such intensely packed schedules full of sports, music, art classes, community service and technological stimulation throughout the school year that it makes finding these all-important quiet mental spaces more difficult.
Summers provide a much-needed opportunity for my children to unplug, achieve focus and develop those creative thought processes and connections.
Okay, okay. Creativity might be a compelling tool to beat out that neighbor girl applying to the same college, but what about this “developing broadly as a human being” stuff?
I didn’t come up with that phrase. Harvard did.
William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions at Harvard, has penned a compelling letter to parents. It practically begs and pleads with them to reevaluate the summer extracurriculars race and to “bring summer back,” with an “old-fashioned summer job” perhaps, or simply time to “gather strength for the school year ahead.”
Fitzsimmons writes, “What can be negative is when people lose sight of the fact that it’s important to develop broadly as a human being, as opposed to being an achievement machine. In the end, people will do much better reflecting, perhaps through some down time, in the summer.”
In terms of “developing broadly as a human being,” summer camp can provide an impressive list of life skills.
Studies over the past decade have shown outdoor programs stimulate the development of interpersonal competencies, enhance leadership skills and have positive effects on adolescents’ sense of empowerment, self-control, independence, self-understanding, assertiveness, decision-making skills, self-esteem, leadership, academics, personality and interpersonal relations.
Now for the cherry on top: Independence.
Michael Thompson, the author of “Homesick and Happy,” has written, “… there are things that, as a parent, you cannot do for your children, as much as you might wish to. You cannot make them happy (if you try too hard they become whiners); you cannot give them self-esteem and confidence (those come from their own accomplishments); you cannot pick friends for them and micro-manage their social lives, and finally you cannot give them independence. The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.”
So, yes, Ms. Tiger Mom, I am letting my children walk out the door and make useless lanyards for two months.
They might not have anything “constructive” to place on their college application, but they will reflect, unwind, think and laugh. They will explore, perform skits they wrote themselves and make those endless friendship bracelets to tie onto the wrists of lifelong friends.
The result will be that when they come back through our door, we’re pretty sure that, in addition to having gobs of creativity and independence, they’ll be more comfortable with who they are as people.
And just maybe they’ll even bring back a few magic tricks.
Laura Clydesdale lives in Berkeley, Calif., with her husband and children.
Come to the Swift Nature Camp Open House in Chicagoland May 30h.
Our Open House is a wonderful time to learn more about camp by meeting the Directors (Lonnie & Jeff) and Staff. If you are already enrolled this is a time to meet new friends and play games with the other campers and counsleors. You can even bring a freind. We promise to bring some fun criiters from our Nature Center for you to meet. We hope you can make it to this fun program. Please dress for the weather. If you have any questions call us at 630-654-8036.
OPEN HOUSE AT THE WILLOWBROOK WILDLIFE CENTER
WHERE: Willowbrook Wildlife Center ( across from the College of Dupage)
Wishing you all the best, See yiu soon.
Lonnie & Jeff
WILLOWBROOK WILDLIFE CENTER IS LOCATED on the east side of Park Boulevard across from College of DuPage, one mile south of Roosevelt (Rt. 38) and one mile north of Butterfield Road (Rt. 56).