Building a Healthy Self Esteem and the Summer Camp Experience

Building a Healthy Self Esteem and The Summer Camp Experience.

Ask any parent what they want for their children and they will most likely mention having a healthy self esteem. Self esteem is the beliefs and perceptions we have about ourselves and our abilities. Self esteem strongly influences how we take on life’s challenges and cope with new experiences. The goal of every parent is to have their children feel good about themselves, to take on the world with a “can do” attitude and trust themselves and their abilities.

When children have a “product”, either something to show for their efforts or a feeling of accomplishment, they develop a healthy and positive sense of who they are. There are so many settings and opportunities for young people today to shine and feel good about their efforts and successes. Be it at school, on the sports field, through community service, having responsibilities at home, and of course at summer camp.

In addition to the endless fun summer camp provides, it is also an excellent setting to foster a healthy self esteem and offers numerous opportunities to develop and nurture a positive sense of self by:

Allowing a Greater Sense of Independence:

The feeling of independence starts with getting on the camp bus, and is evident in the simple tasks campers take on each day. It’s being responsible for picking out their clothes, cleaning up their

living area, and having a say in the electives they choose. Children who often have things done for them at home, take on many new responsibilities with great competence. Knowing one is capable and being a part of the decision making process builds confidence and feelings of empowerment.

Being Surrounded by Positive Role Models:

Summer camps work very hard to interview and hire mature, skilled and well trained staff who all share a strong desire to work with children and be a part of their successes. Camp staff create a safe and loving environment that encourages taking chances. When children feel safe they are more likely to take on new challenges and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Providing Team Building Activities:

Outdoor adventure and team building experiences are an important part of the summer camp experience. In addition to individual successes, team experiences allow campers to work together for the better of the group. Campers develop strategies for success by working through obstacles, contributing their ideas, and not giving up. Feeling a part of something creates feelings of self worth will carry over to other life situations.

Attempting New Challenges:

Summer camp provides endless opportunities to try new activities. From wake up to lights out, the camp day is filled with adventure and fun. Performing in the theater production, trying horseback riding for the first time, perfecting one’s serve on the tennis court, getting up on water-skis, creating fine arts, cooking up a new recipe, color war and tribal competitions, and even being part of a community project. All adding up to a great sense of accomplishment.

Developing Social Skills and Lifetime Friendships:

Let’s not forget what is at the heart of the summer camp experience and the development of a positive self esteem. Friendships and the sense of belonging. It’s a home away from home, a camp family, a place to form lifetime friendships that are like no other. By living together, campers learn to get along, resolve conflicts, work together and of course laugh and have the time of their lives.

If your family is already part of the summer camp experience, you have probably witnessed first hand the way your children have blossomed and grown each summer. If you are just starting your summer camp journey…watch and see. You will be amazed by what your children take away from being a part of a camp experience, with new found confidence and self esteem.