Benefits of Summer Camp

At Overnight Summer Camps, children are given the choice to take risks and try new things. This voluntary nature makes children more open to new experiences, with personal satisfaction as their motivation. Not only are there opportunities to try new things, but camp offers many areas for children to excel in. At a good general interest camp, the non-athlete can shine at arts and crafts, woodworking, or dramatic programs... while the athlete can also find many outlets for their skills. Perhaps most importantly, the two campers learn to live together and become friends despite their varied interests.

Kids Summer Camps offer many opportunities to become competent. Practicing both new and old skills on a regular basis, it makes sense that there will be improvement. Novices have chances to learn, while those who are more experienced can improve. Learning new skills and improving on old ones builds self-esteem. Children become more independent and self-reliant at camp with their new found skills.

Sending your child to camp is giving them an opportunity to try something new. No matter how many after-school programs or lessons a child takes, its likely they will never have the opportunity to try all that is offered at summer camp. In a supportive environment, the child can try at something new. The interesting twist to these activities is that, since campers often don't know anyone else at camp before they go, they are more willing to try activities that their friends at home might not expect them to. The athlete can try out for the camp play, while the artist may dabble in sports. At camp, children can try new things and set their own goals for success.

Though years later, your child may not remember capture the flag games or the words to a camp song, the life lessons learned at camp will remain. At camp, a child learns how to take responsibility. The child who has never before made a bed, will learn how to smooth out sheets and blankets and tidy up a cubby. Though counselors will remind and encourage, campers quickly take responsibility for personal hygiene, and for more minor health issues, a camper learns to articulate what hurts and how to get help. All of this personal responsibility further fosters a sense of independence and self-esteem. Camp also improves a child's social skills by making new friends and learning how to reach out to strangers. At camp, children learn to get along with others, all while living together 24 hours a day, learning about courtesy, compromise, teamwork, and respect. Minnesota Camps

During a recent survey of campers in 20 different camps that where accredited by the American Camping Association provided answers to questions like "What did you learn at camp?" "How are you different in school because of what you did at camp last summer?" "How do you feel differently about yourself since you've been to camp?" American Camp Association

Can you think of things you learned and did at camp last summer that helped you in school this year? * I learned to have more patience and to appreciate the things I have. (10 year old female) * I feel that I am better at interacting with friends and family. The people skills learned at camp affected me dramatically when I went home. (15 year old male) * Leadership, organization, water-skiing, make my bed, keep my stuff clean, to keep in touch with my friends, respect, how to handle pressure. (13 year old female)

If explaining camp to friends, what would you say you learn here? * You learn mostly how to interact with different kinds of people and are open to different ideas. You learn how to cooperate well with others who share and don't share the same opinions as you. (15 year old female) * I learned to have fun, be a leader, discipline, and most of all - respect. (12 year old male) * You learn how to make new friends, learn different sports, and learn that camp can be a very good part of summer! (9 year old female)

Do you feel differently about yourself when you are at camp? * I feel differently because I feel like I am accomplishing something by being here. (13 year old female) * At school there are defined groups of people, but at camp, everyone feels wanted. (15 year old female) * Yes, because I'm with people my age and people who respect everyone. (11 year old male) * At camp I think that I can do more and be proud of myself. (13 year old female) * At camp I have a personality that is different from home. I'm less cautious to do fun or exciting things. I don't feel as alone as I sometimes do at home. (14 year old male) * When I'm at camp I feel that I can be more open with myself and others. I tell people things at camp I wouldn't speak of back home. I feel so much more in tune with myself here and I can discuss issues so much more openly. (15 year old male) * I don't have to be fake to anyone. Everyone here accepts me as I am and I'm not judged or criticized. (15 year old female)

Given the benefits of a sleepaway camp, it seems that all children should enroll. There are camps for almost all children, including those with special needs. However, there are certainly children who are not ready for an overnight camp experience. Be sure you and your child are ready to leave home.

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