Self Esteem & Peer Pressure

The topic of self-esteem is often touched on when we speak of the benefits of a summer camp experience.  Kids who have the opportunity to attend sleepaway camp, live and play in a setting where self-confidence is developed naturally through every day activities and interpersonal relationships.  Camp gives kids a setting of support, friendship, challenges and sense of belonging, that nurtures a healthy self-esteem.  And a healthy self-esteem is key to feeling valued, developing healthy relationships and making sound life choices. 

Another important benefit of developing a strong sense of self is being able to avoid negative peer pressure. Peer pressure is the feeling of being pushed into doing something – good or bad.  Studies show that children who have a strong self-esteem are better at resisting negative peer pressure and influence.  Starting in the teen years, kids are often uncertain about their identity and look to their peers for guidance and influence.  Teens are figuring out who they are, what they believe in, and their place in the world. Some influences will be positive and helpful, but others can leave them feeling vulnerable to negative peer pressure and bad decisions.  Responding to peer pressure is natural, but those with a low self-esteem may be more likely to give in to negative influences.  It’s only natural for young people to want to fit in and feel a sense of belonging, but it’s important to help kids avoid dangerous and unhealthy behaviors. 

At summer camp, kids have the opportunity to grow in a positive unplugged environment, surrounded by encouraging and supportive people, who are dedicated to helping them be the best version of themselves. The confidence that kids develop at camp continues to influence their behaviors and decisions year-round. 

Here are some of the ways camp helps kids develop a strong self-esteem and successfully handle negative peer pressure!

Camp allows kids to…

Step outside of their comfort zone – Nothing boosts confidence more than taking healthy risks and trying something we thought we could never do. The feeling of accomplishment in stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, whatever the outcome, is a true confidence builder.  

Develop Friendships and Strong Connections – Camp gives kids a sense of belonging and acceptance, and allows them to develop lifelong friendships.  These positive bonds create greater self-confidence.   Camp gives kids the opportunity to build relationships and work out differences.  

Help others – Camp gives kids the opportunity to help out, show kindness and empathy, and make a difference. These experiences are contagious and influence others to do the same.  

Master a New Skill – Trying new things gives kids a chance at success. It feels good to become skilled and competent at something that interests you. 

Make Mistakes or even Fail – Failure is the best opportunity to grow. We learn more from our setbacks then from things that come easy.  Campers are encouraged to pursue their goals, obstacles and all. Learning from mistakes and picking ourselves up to try again is the true meaning of resilience, confidence and empowerment. 

Be Surrounded by Positive Mentors – Camp staff are positive role models that guide and encourage campers to challenge themselves, make good decisions, and become confident leaders.  

All of these opportunities (and more) help create confident and resilient campers. Campers who stay true to themselves, even when the pressure is on to follow the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to resist negative peer pressure, but those who do so lead the way for others who may feel the exact same way.  Great way to be a difference maker.  

The pull of peer pressure is strongest when our confidence is the weakest.