By Adam Pritchard
Summer camps are not only great fun, but they can also be a very constructive time for children. Summer camp gives them the opportunity to try new things, experience an increased level of independence and to develop as a person, all within a challenging, but safe, environment. They’re definitely a good investment for parents and provide a host of benefits to children who spend their summer at the camp.
Improve Social Skills and Meet New People
One of the most important benefits of attending a summer camp is that it gives children a fantastic opportunity to meet a wide range of people and introduces them to a level of diversity that they may not be used to. Being around so many different people gives them plenty of opportunity to make new friends and improve their social skills. The relaxed atmosphere and team-building nature of summer camps helps youngsters build bonds with each other and makes sure they are given a chance to develop in different social groups.
Experience New Places and a Different Environment
Besides meeting new people, campers will also become familiar with new places and experience a different environment. Being gently pushed outside of their comfort zone, whilst still in a safe setting, provides great opportunities. The activities at summer camps are designed to make the most of the location — something that allows students to really be stimulated by their surroundings rather than just stagnating on familiar ground. Being somewhere new also piques a child’s natural interest and curiosity, which helps them engage with whatever is in the area around them. This can also be a good way to disconnect kids from an over-reliance on technology and help them to appreciate the natural world.
Try New Things, Risks and Challenges
Most youngsters, and especially teens, have high energy levels and naturally want to take risks. They stay out late and do things that their parents may well frown upon. Being at a camp allows students to push their boundaries in a safe and friendly environment by providing a set of new challenges. Whether it is by going white water rafting or taking part in a painting course, children can focus their energy on taking part in new activities that challenge them and give them a sense of fulfillment. The whole idea of a summer camp is to make constructive use of a child’s energy, which is something that they have in abundance.
A Boost to Confidence
At camp, children are taken out of their natural comfort zone. Their teachers and parents are no longer there and instead they are replaced by an assortment of new people. On top of this, they are in a new location and also being asked to take part in new activities. Although initially a little disconcerting, most camp-goers will respond very positively to these changes. The new experiences in which they take part will show them that they are capable of reacting to different situations and they will benefit from an increase in confidence as a result. Camps themselves provide an atmosphere designed to help children to grow. Of course, during camp time the students will almost certainly encounter minor setbacks; however, being able to deal with these will also do wonders for their self-esteem.
Central to the summer camp ethos is providing children with an environment that is both safe and friendly, but at the same time giving kids extra freedom to make their own decisions. Being away from parents and teachers gives students more independence and responsibilities as they make many of their own decisions and work for themselves. This is an important part of a child’s development as they learn to stand on their own two feet.
High Levels of Activity — Stimulate, Not Stagnate
Camp organisers are more than capable of shaking things up for their students. A schedule packed with a wide array of activities helps children make the most of their time at camp. The change in scenery and people will help to stimulate rather than stagnate, a problem that is all too common over the long weeks of a summer holiday. Being away from constant access to technology may well also prove useful, as students are more prone to get outside and do things instead of vegetating in front of a TV or computer screen.
Character Growth and Skill Development
Camp promotes the acquisition and development of skills that are not covered to the same extent in school. Traits such as resilience, determination and leadership are not essential components of traditional curricula, but they are still critical to a child’s development. Specific activities may focus on promoting teamwork and leadership qualities, but the experience of attending a camp will also have an impact on youngsters. Simply being in an environment away from their parents and surrounded by other children will allow them to grow and develop as people.
Discover Themselves and Their Interests
At camp, children will take part in a huge number of different activities, many of which they would not have otherwise tried. Doing so is a fantastic opportunity for them to explore and develop their own interests whilst discovering their own strengths and weaknesses. Away from the results-focused world of academic exams, children can experience a different type of success measured in a different way. They can see and feel the benefits of something tangible for themselves and take pride in something that is more than a simple grade on a piece of paper.