Often parents ask: Why is an Overnight Summer Camp the right thing for my child? As a camp owner & director of a summer camp in the Midwest, this seems like an odd question. But then I have to stop and realize, that if a parent has not gone to a summer camp or even if you did go to camp, you might not understand how camp has changed over the years. First, I think it is important that I say, I cannot speak of all camps but I can talk about Swift Nature Camp and other fine Overnight Summer Camps. So over the last 25 years, summer camps have realized they are important in a child's development in 3 main ways. First, they connect kids to nature and then reduce or eliminate screen time. Second, Overnight Camps help children learn interpersonal skills that build confidence as they move into adulthood. Thirdly, free play is a big part of what happens at camp. This day and age kids are so scheduled, they no longer have time to just make up games and goof off and be creative. But what does all this mean to your child? Below are 10 areas your child will benefit from while at camp:
Far too often we live in our little village or community. Swift Nature Camp exposes kids to people from all over. Last summer we had 20 states and 5 countries represented at camp. This helps kids learn that the world is big and that despite the distance and the difference in cultures, we all want the same thing, to feel cared for, feel safe, have fun. Camp creates a world of peace and reconciliation rather than conflict.
When kids are away from parents, they need to be decision makers. They do this with the encouragement from "Older Brothers or Sisters" - their counselors. We understand kids may make mistakes and that's OK at camp, because we are there to redirect poor decisions to good decisions. Making good decisions and being responsible for yourself builds self esteem.
Most parents agree their children are outside much less than they used to be. This “nature deficit” is causing increased stress and weight gains in our youth. At Swift Nature Camp we get kids outside, teaching them about nature while having fun in it.
Self-development and independence happen at camp because campers are empowered to be responsible for themselves, with guidance from camp counselors. The day starts with getting ready, which includes brushing your teeth, making your bed and sweeping your cabin. This helps kids learn how to take care of themselves.
When living in a group, there are times that you will naturally speak up and lead the group. This builds a child's character while providing confidence as they interact with others.
So often kids are in programs to just spend their time. Swift Nature Camp provides children the opportunity to make lifelong memories. Often we hear "Camp friends are my best friends" Why? Because when you live with someone, you become much closer than just seeing folks casually during the day.
Making friends is a skill that needs constant practice. Camp is a wonderfully friendly place that provides these opportunities. At SNC our campers tend to know most if not all of the other campers within a few short days. For our older campers it's a time of supporting the younger ones, and for the younger ones, it's a time to trust and ask for help from the older campers. Camp is all about friendships, thus teaching and giving practice to children how to be more socially confident.
Camp life is filled with a get up – and get moving attitude. Camp is all about doing! Our days are action packed all the time, except for a brief rest period in the afternoon. So whether you are chasing frogs, swimming or shooting a bow , at Swift Nature Camp we are active all the time.
Camps like ours provides numerous activities that can develop into life long passions. Kids can do so many activities that it is just a matter of time till they find the one that's best suited for them. Camp exposes many children to hiking, fishing, sailing, swimming, archery & canoeing all for the very first time. These passions can continue to grow throughout their life.
Often we just look for something to eat up the time for our kids. Yet, as parents we know we should be doing more, but we are busy and have a life of our own. So, summer camp gives you back your time while assuring you that your child's needs are being met to the highest degree. The number one comment we hear from parent is "what have you done to my child"? We used to get worried, but after all these years of being a camp director, I see that it's just parents' way of telling us that their child has changed for the better during their time with us. We are intentional in what we do and maybe those parents' questions are why we do camp every summer.
If you would like to chat more about Swift Nature Camp or learn more about our Overnight Summer Camp For The First Time Camper please give us a call at 630-654-8036. We would love to help out.