Every summer, parents wrestle with the idea of whether or not to pack off their kids for a few weeks of camp. They’re worried, of course. ‘Will my son feel homesick? We’ve never been separated!’ ‘ Or, ‘Will my daughter make friends? She’s always been a little shy.’
However, summer camp can be an enriching experience. They’ll learn many things life skills they’d never pick up in the classroom, and their personality will flourish in a different and more challenging environment. Here are just some of the great things they’ll pick up in their summer camp adventure.
1. Summer camp encourages learning and discipline.
If you’re afraid of what your kids will do at camp, be more afraid of what your kids won’t do if they stay at home. Chances are they’ll spend most of their summer vacation watching cartoons, surfing the Internet, and eating chips the whole day.
At camp, they’ll follow an educational routine that includes going outdoors, interacting with other kids, learning new skills, and helping out with chores. (That’s what you’d want them to be doing if they stayed at home, but at camp, somebody else does the nagging.)
2. Summer camp instills discipline.
Camp counselors will be around to enforce camp rules, of course, but your kids will actually learn discipline from… peers. Many camp activities have team building activities like games and contests. Everyone relies on each other to do their best and contribute to their goal. They become ‘accountable’ to their teammates.
This is a wonderful lesson in commitment, pride in one’s work, and sensitivity to other people’s needs and what they expect of you. Which, when you think about it, is what discipline are all about. ‘
3. Summer camp widens perspective.
Your kids will meet people that aren’t from their school and neighborhood. They’ll interact with kids of different cultures, ages and personalities, and get a wider perspective of the world. Even if they occasionally fight with their peers, it’s all part of the process of growing up and learning how to get along with a wide variety of people.
4. Summer camp develops independence.
At home, our kids can always run to us when they need help, and very often we rescue them: ‘It’s okay, Mommy will handle it.’ However, this deprives kids the chance to take responsibility for themselves.
At camp, they’ll make their own bed, look after their own things, and have to confront problems (like fighting with a room mate). Of course, the camp counselors are there to guide the kids and provide emotional support. But they won’t ‘baby’ anyone, and they don’t take excuses or give in to tantrums.
5. Summer camp develops confidence.
School and home are your kids’ ‘safety zone’ filled with familiar people and routines. Camp does shove them into a totally different environment. Scary? Definitely. Worth it? Oh, yes. The peer pressure (‘I don’t want them to think I’m a cry baby!’) motivates them to try things they used to be afraid of. The structure introduces new experiences and sharpens their skills. Each time they conquer a fear or master a new task their confidence grows. ‘I didn’t think I could do that… but I did!’
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