By Jess Michaels, American Camp Association, NY and NJ
While everyone knows that camp is fun, what many people don’t consider is that camp provides children with the opportunity to gain so much more than just a great summer outdoors! Here are the top five reasons your child needs camp.
1. Confidence building – Camp provides children with so many opportunities to build confidence. American Camp Association research has found that 92% of campers said that camp helped them feel good about themselves and 70% of parents reported that their child gained self-confidence at camp. When a child goes on the zip line after being nervous about it or swims to the other side of the pool for the first time, he or she gains confidence by accomplishing something they didn’t think they could do. At camp, children also build confidence by making their own decisions, whether by choosing an electiveperiod or figuring out a problem on their own without their parents’ assistance.
2. Communication skills – Campers are constantly communicating at camp. They talk in their bunks, at meals, on the sports fields or down at the lake. There are no iphones for texting or social media – all communication is done face to face. Today’s children need the camp environment more than ever to have true one-on-one conversations without the use of technology.
3. Independence –When children go to day or overnight camp, they are given the opportunity to grow more independent. Separating from parents gives children the ability to think independently and make their own decisions, which leads to self-esteem and confidence.
4. New Experiences – Camp allows children to try things they have never done before in a safe, nurturing environment designed specifically for them. Each day, campers get to experience new things from paddle boarding to learning the backstroke to playing gaga. Research by the American Camp Association shows that 63% of campers continue to participate in some of the new activities he or she learned at camp when they get home.
5. Resilience – It is important for children to develop resilience for coping with the obstacles and stresses that inevitably will happen in their lives. At camp, children are often problem solving, adapting to change, and building confidence. These are all tools that help children to cope with hurdles they may encounter and therefore build resiliency.
Need assistance finding a camp? For almost 20 years, Renee Flax at the American Camp Association, NY and NJ has been helping families find the right Accredited day, overnight or specialty camp for their child. Contact her at 212.391.5208 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit acanynj.org for more information.