How Sleepaway Camp Can Benefit All Kids
The first day of summer just around the corner, so you might be thinking about sending your kids to sleepaway camp.
You also may be asking yourself, “What if they don’t like being away from home?”, “Will they enjoy it?, “Will they be too homesick to do so?”, or “What if they feel out of place?” These are some of many questions and concerns that may run through any parent’s mind.
Sending your kids away for long periods of time to a sleepaway summer camp certainly isn’t easy. However, there are numerous ways in which kids can benefit from it, no matter their needs, interests, personalities, or skills!
Still don’t know if it’s the right decision for your children? To help you decide, here’s a list of 7 benefits that sleepaway camps can provide all kids!
Growth in Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
For many kids, it’ll be their first time being away from home for more than a day or two. They will inevitably feel nervous or frightened to go off on their own and venture into the unknown with no familiar face in sight- no parents, siblings, or friends. Being at camp will create an opportunity for them to make new friends on their own terms. It will also help them discover who they are and who they want to be outside of their typical comfort zone. They can build a new comfort zone and ultimately discover a sense of confidence and self esteem that they may not have previously enjoyed.
Kids often learn to be responsible simply by doing. Parents can only do so much at home- they can teach their kids about responsibility and how important it is. Camp allows them to practice accountability on their own and put what they’ve learned at home into action. They are in a safe environment with counselors, nurses, directors, and more, who are there to support and help when they need it. Kids will be able to work on making their beds, tidying their cabins, following a daily schedule, and learning how to be a part of a team. Sleepaway camp can teach kids how being responsible can positively impact their daily lives far beyond the campgrounds. Likewise, they can also learn the negative impact that irresponsible choices can have on them.
Failing and Trying Again
General camp activities can include soccer, kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding, swimming, archery, and so much more (varies by camp)! Kids are bound to try out something new for the first time. They may find that they’re very skilled at certain activities, and realize that they need practice in others. With learning comes failure, but what’s important is getting back up and trying again- nobody is great at everything. Camps provide an environment for kids to inspire others and to be motivated to grow, while having fun in the process. With an incredible support system (both peers & mentors cheering you on), failure is bound to turn into success. There is always something to be gained from trying, getting back up, and trying again!
Respect for Others’ Ideas and Differences
Camp is a place where kids gather from all over, each having different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and beliefs. When kids work toward the same goals, whether it be rock climbing or winning the camp trophy, they communicate and bring with them previously established knowledge and ways of thinking about how to do something or why something should be done a certain way. This allows kids an opportunity to experience & learn about different and unique perspectives. They will essentially learn that because someone else thinks differently, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong or inferior. Also, they will grow to understand that everyone’s beliefs and opinions are valid, equally deserving of respect and worthy of looking into.
Appreciation for Nature
Almost all camp activities are held outdoors, so kids are able to disconnect from technology and immerse themselves in the great outdoors. From hiking and biking to horseback riding and rock climbing, campers are encouraged to get out there and move. This will increase not only their physical activity, but mental and emotional activity as well. Moreover, kids can receive a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun (with the appropriate protection, of course), which is important for the regular growth of healthy bones, among many other benefits.
Who says that education has to stop once the summer season begins? Where the school classrooms end, those in the outdoors begin! At camp, kids learn how to play new sports and how to make smart safety decisions. They also learn many life skills that can be translated in the real world, including leadership, team work, relationship building, and so much more. The learning never stops and kids can explore while enjoying themselves.
When camp is over, you might notice that your kids have returned changed for the better. They created lifelong friendships with kids from across the country whom they can’t wait to see again next summer, learned many new valuable skills, and developed a sense of confidence and responsibility. Furthermore, they now understand what it takes to be part of a team as well as to lead one. They may just be all-around happier kids and will feel better about themselves after realizing that they gained some independence!
Still undecided? Here’s a BONUS reason: It gives YOU, the hardworking parents, time to yourselves! You’ll be able to relax free from distractions and the responsibilities that come with parenting kids on summer vacation. Sleepaway camp can truly be an exciting and unforgettable experience for kids of all ages, as well as for their parents!