It’s where I learned to play Capture the Flag, made lifelong friends, and learned to canoe – which I still love to this day. It’s where I caught frogs and turtles, learned the importance of sunscreen for a pale, redheaded kid, and where I learned a crazy amount of camp songs…that I now proudly teach my own kids! Anyone for a verse of 'Going on a Lion Hunt'?
Summer Camp. I spent every single summer at camp as a kid. And you know what? I loved every minute of it. I loved all the games, the sports and the exploring! I loved spending afternoons building sandcastles with the other kids. I even loved the day I got hit in the eye with a baseball and my brother ran over and yelled “Look at all the blood!”. I had a massive black eye and got five stitches across my eyebrow. I still have the scar.
When it comes to summer camp, I look back with such fond memories. So much so, I get excited when I sign my own kids up for summer camp because I hope they have the same positive experience I did. I firmly believe summer camp is something worth investing in – for so many reasons!
Independence – I don’t know about you, but being independent is something we’re constantly working on with our two boys. My 10-year-old acts like it’s the end of the world if I ask him to make his own breakfast. So, independence is a big one in our house and I’m sure we’re not alone. Summer camp is a great way to encourage this. Throughout any given day at camp, kids will be given responsibility, and they’ll have to take care of themselves a little more and make their own decisions, away from the safety net of their parents.
Confidence – How many times have you heard your child say… “I can’t”? Doing and learning new things at camp every day will teach them that they CAN. Without a parent around to do it for them, kids will have no choice but to do things for themselves. They’ll learn new skills, make new friends, and guess what? Their confidence will get a little boost when they realize they just did all sorts of things on their own!
Friendship – Speaking of making new friends, camp is an AMAZING place to make friends. There are a lot of team sports and working together at camp. Plus, with it being a more relaxed atmosphere than school, kids have more time to talk to each other, get to know one another and build lasting friendships.
Connect with nature – In a world obsessed with technology, camp is great way to make sure your kids have plenty of outside time this summer. Without their devices being an option, kids will come to appreciate the outdoors just like we did when we were their age. They’ll run, swim, climb trees, get dirty, scrape their knees and simply put, be a kid!
Discover new interests – At summer camp, kids usually end up trying new things they never would have tried outside of camp. For example, I would have never known I like canoeing so much if I didn’t go to camp. I even became a junior leader a little later and helped teach canoeing to the younger campers. Camp is an opportunity for kids to try new things and maybe…find a new interest that will last long after camp has ended.
Fun – This is an obvious one, but camp is FUN! I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend every day swimming, laughing, playing and singing?! They’ll also spend their days learning, too! It’s disguised in fun ways though so shhhhh…don’t tell your kids!
Those summer months will be here before you know it! So, if you’re thinking about signing your kids up for summer camp, remember that you’re also signing them up for an experience that will provide them with lifelong skills, friendships and memories!