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5 Reasons Your Child Should Attend a Summer Camp

With hundreds of camps to choose from each summer, Mighty Mommy offers 5 ways that you and your child can gain a positive experience from participating in camp.

By
Cheryl Butler,
June 3, 2018
Episode #483

image of kids at summer camp

As the school year winds down and temps begin to heat up, thousands of kids across the country are beginning to gear up for the carefree days of summer. Time spent out of the classroom is welcome to the many students who long to kick back and enjoy hanging out with friends and family at the beach, the park, or in their own backyards.

In addition to downtime away from school, there’s another highly anticipated item happening for lots of kids: summer camp! Whether it be a day camp, sleepaway camp, sports or theater camp, attending some type of camp program offers multiple benefits for not only your child but you as the parent.

With hundreds of camps to choose from each summer, Mighty Mommy offers five ways you and your child can gain a positive experience from participating in camp.

5 Benefits of Attending Summer Camp

  1. Camp Helps Build Self-Esteem
  2. Camp Helps Teach Social Skills
  3. Camp Bonds Deep Friendships
  4. Camp Instills an Appreciation of Nature
  5. Camp Gives the Entire Family Joyful Space

Here are each of these benefits in more detail.

1. Camp Helps Build Self-Esteem

Most of my eight kids attended some type of camp while growing up. My youngest daughter, now 12, is looking forward to an acting camp later this summer as well as volunteering at a nature camp for pre-schoolers. Though not all kids want to participate in a summer camp program, I noticed a positive change in my kids who attended once their camp was finished. They made friends easier as a result of going to camp because they had to learn to mix in with kids who didn’t go to their school. They also learned to cook, problem-solve, learned fun new skills like kayaking and experienced many hands-on activities as they constructed things from scratch.

Camp offers a well-rounded experience that satisfies a child’s need for physical activity, a creative outlet, and a community-building environment. "The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing. Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school,” says Michael Popkin, Ph.D., family therapist and founder of Active Parenting.

Summer camp can help instill the extremely important gift of self-esteem while doing so in a natural and fun environment—a life asset that lasts well beyond summer time!

2. Camp Helps Teach Social Skills

When your child attends any program where he is in a setting outside your home, he will have to abide by another set of rules, and have to interact with adults he may not know very well or at all.

Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When kids attend overnight camps they have to learn to co-exist in a completely new set of living quarters with others, share chores, resolve everyday problems without mom and dad to help, and see firsthand the importance of clear communication. Camp builds teamwork and helps enforce the social skills you’ve already been building in your home environment.

Don’t be surprised to see your camper return home acting a bit more mature and lending more of a helping hand around your homestead.

3. Camp Bonds Deep Friendships

A couple of my kids are very shy and more on the introverted side. I’m not sure where they got that trait from because their father and I are both real “people persons” and can interact and make conversations with just about anyone who has a pulse.

For kids who have more difficulty connecting with their peers and making friendships, camp can be a blessing in disguise. Camp is the place where kids make their very best friends, because there aren’t the same social expectations pressuring them at school. The camp experience encourages kids to relax and make friends easily, which was the case for one of my daughters who was painfully shy growing up. Through some of the group activities at her summer camp, she met another kid who had a very similar personality but they both loved to draw and create things. Finding a new friend to share in the same interests opened the door for her to begin hanging out both in and out of camp. Over ten years later, she and her camp buddy have remained best of friends and have stayed in touch while away at college.

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