The Benefits of Overnight Camp
If you grew up attending overnight camp, you have first-hand experience of the positive effects camp can have on a young person, and most likely want that for your children. You already know about living in the great outdoors, making lifelong friends and experiencing the many activities and challenges camp has to offer. But what if you are someone who did not get to experience overnight camp life, and want to know more about what camp is all about before sending your children on this adventure? You have probably heard from friends and people in your community, how positive a camp experience can be, and it’s true.
For starters….Camp gives children a sense of belonging. Campers are brought together, to communicate, work together, learn about one another, and develop true friendships. Campers act as a team to keep their cabin clean, win a group challenge or help a friend achieve a goal. They learn the give and take of a group setting and rely on each other for support and guidance. The natural result of belonging to a community and working together is not only improved social skills but improved problem solving skills and leadership qualities.
A sense of belonging and having true friends leads to facing fears and taking on new challenges. Having the support of friends and staff that have your back and encourage you to try new things in a safe environment, can be the extra push campers need to test their own limits and accomplish things they never thought possible. Campers are exposed to activities they may have never tried before, such as water skiing, horseback riding, skateboarding, outdoor adventure or acting in the camp play. Each accomplishment builds self-confidence. Research has shown that true self-esteem comes not from what other people say, but from overcoming obstacles and developing skills. With the assistance and guidance of specialists at camp, children learn to master different skills and accomplish goals. There is no better feeling than getting up on water skis for the first time, or reaching the top of the climbing wall. Each success further builds their self-confidence and willingness to take on new challenges.
Increased confidence and self-esteem leads to newfound independence, and a willingness to take on responsibilities. Each morning campers choose what they are going to wear, what they are going to eat, and what electives they are going to choose. Even if it is a camper’s first time making decisions, they do come to rely on themselves if given the opportunity. Responsibilities at camp, like making your bed each morning, increases awareness of what needs to be done at home. When children return home from camp, many parents say they are more mature and more responsible than when they left for camp.
And of course, camp offers an increase in physical activity and healthier lifestyle, while reconnecting with nature. Camps that do not allow electronic devices give campers a chance to slow down and refocus on what is all around them. When campers are participating in an activity, they are fully focused on that activity, free from the distractions of texting, emailing, or using Facebook. Camp brings everyone outdoors and increases awareness and appreciation of both nature and one another.
These examples are just a handful of the positives that a camp experience can bring. It is a chance for young people to have fun, broaden their horizons, and develop life skills that will be with them throughout adulthood.