If you’ve been to summer camp as a kid, you probably 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 been to a sleepaway camp, it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of sending your kid to summer camp for a week or longer. If you need a little convincing, here are our top five reasons why your kid should go to camp this summer.
“Camp friends are the best friends”. It’s a phrase that is commonly thrown around amongst people who have spent summers away at camp learning exactly why that is true. Your child may struggle to make friends at school or find people that they really click with. School is hard with social pressures, cliques and a lot of structure. Plus, if they don’t really participate in any team sports or have a way to meet people outside of school, it can be even harder.
Camp is a place away from all the normal social expectations and pressures that your child may face in the “real world”. Summer camp encourages kids to relax, be themselves and participate in silly activities like skits and campfire songs. The bonding that happens at camp is different from school because campers are living together and experiencing activities together 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 is likely the very first time your child has spent any period of time away from you longer than just an overnight sleepover. Your child will be able 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.
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 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. From climbing a rock wall to shooting a bow and arrow to kayaking, there’s something for everyone to try and get out of their comfort zone. 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 the outdoors, 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 dirt 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 teamwork and how to coexist with other campers in one cabin, plus the responsibility that comes around 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 Ernst. Give them a summer they won’t forget!