Amid the days and nights of swimming lessons, woodland hikes, campfires and giggles after lights-out, kids at summer camp also absorb a lot of lessons about life that will last long after the last song echoes over the lake. Along with lifelong friends and treasured memories, kids learn the value of independence, embracing diversity and taking that all-important step outside their comfort zone. There’s a lot to learn along with all that lively lakeside fun.
Kids learn how to be independent at camp and it’s a great feeling. Without mom and dad hovering full of good intentions and advice, kids have the chance to make some decisions on their own as well as how to cope if these decisions don’t turn out as well as expected. All through life, kids have to deal with the ups and downs that come from the challenges of school, work and relationships. And it helps to have developed the resilience to field whatever curve balls life pitches at you. Camp is a safe and nurturing place to try out some little freedoms like choosing which elective activity to take, whether to go on the overnight camping trip or if you’re ready to try out for a solo in the camp talent show.
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Sense of Community
The new friends and fun kids have at camp is even more than that. They are learning to make their own community… a family of friends separate from their “real” family. This is a truly valuable life lesson. One that will be used to develop social networks with confidence throughout the school years and into the workplace. Learning how to build lasting friendships teaches respect for others, encourages acceptance and helps kids refine their own identity.
Truly a Team
In camp, kids truly learn the importance of team work, appreciating how each member contributes to the group in his or her own way. From organized activities on the ropes courses to tent camping trips, rock climbing and campfire skits, camp is full of group activities in which each member of the group has his or her own function and all are there to cheer each other on and celebrate success or commiserate on failure together. Camp is also full of leadership opportunities. But a leader needs a group of followers that are able to work cohesively together.
Venturing Outside the Comfort Zone
Camp is full of chances to try new skills and to face new experiences. Camp gives kids the opportunity to do this in a safe and supportive atmosphere. While also honing the ability to step outside their comfort zone and take (hopefully) wise chances in the real world. From trying to muster the courage to dive into the deep end of the pool to confronting wildlife for the first time, kids at camp take lots of leaps both large and small, preparing them for new challenges on their future travels through life.
You Never Really Say Goodbye
Everyone who has experienced camp knows what happens on the last day. Campers, reluctant to leave, climb into cars with mom and dad for the long drive home. You will have promised to stay in touch with all your camp friends, but those great intentions will fade as school activities take over time and attention. However, the amazing truth is that when next summer rolls around and you see everybody again, it’ll be just like you never left! We never really say goodbye to the people and places we love; they’re tucked away forever in a special part of our hearts. Old friends are the best! Which is why former campers flock to reunions to reconnect once again with the people who share these special memories.