Kids who are given the gift of a summer camp experience develop greater independence, self-confidence, leadership and resilience, all important life skills. By living, playing, and interacting with their camp family, kids are also learning communication, tolerance and most importantly empathy. Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, plays a vital role in our social lives. According to Dr. Michele Borba, educational psychologist, empathy reigns supreme among social-emotional skills and plays a surprising role in predicting kid’s life-long success. Studies show that possessing empathy makes children more likable, more employable, and better leaders.
And one of the best empathy generators (in addition to summer camp) is participation in Community Service projects. Projects that give kids the opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Community service fosters empathy and kindness, teaches compassion and understanding, and improves the quality of life to those who need it most. Volunteering also increases self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction by providing a sense of purpose and belonging.
Community service provides an opportunity to focus on something other than ourselves. Kids get a chance to give back and make a difference. Community service is an amazing opportunity to grow as an individual. Devoting time and energy to help others in need achieve a goal is one of the greatest feelings a person can experience. And campers at Iroquois Springs are doing their part every summer to make a difference in the lives of others.
One of the highlights for the CIT’s at camp is their time spent with Project Morry. Every summer our CIT’s have the opportunity to spend a day at Project Morry, where they interact with campers and learn more about this incredible program. Spending time with campers from Project Morry, a nonprofit youth development organization which offers its students a combination of exceptional summer camp experiences, year-round academic enrichment and support, and one-on-one mentoring, is a highlight of the summer for the CIT’s. In addition, the same age group from Project Morry spends a day at IS doing team building and various activities with our CIT’s. A day that our CIT’s will always treasure.
Iroquois Springs campers of all ages also have the opportunity to give back during the annual Morry’s Camp Swim-a-Thon, swimming thousands of laps and raising money for Morry’s Camp and the camp community. It’s a day filled with great spirit, enthusiasm, and commitment to giving back to others. And the efforts of IS campers do not end when the camp season is over. Campers take their interests, empathy, and passion for helping others home with them and get involved with community service projects all year long. They know the difference one person can make, and do their best to get involved.
Giving back to others can be as simple as collecting food or clothing for a local food bank or homeless shelter, volunteering time to read to elementary students, coaching a special needs student, or assisting with activities at a senior center. Even the smallest good deed can ignite change and positively impact the community. When you give back you make an impact. You make friends with common interests. You strengthen your skills and become a leader.
Volunteering teaches kids a sense of responsibility, and can even enhance a student’s resume for future employment. Student’s learn what it means to keep a commitment, be on time, and the value of a job well done. The best part is that kids learn about people from different backgrounds, abilities, and ages, and that even the most diverse individuals can be united by common goals. Get out there and make a difference!