Millions of children attend summer camp each year, and they learn a variety of skills. One benefit of summer camp is that children learn independence.
Being independent helps children do better in school, make better decisions, and have more success in the future.
One Benefit of Summer Camp: Independence
Summer camps help children develop independence in a unique way. Kids attending are generally out of their comfort zone – the camp is not part of their daily environment.
They have to participate in activities with other children they don’t know. This builds social skills and helps kids learn to ask for help and take new risks.
Also, summer camp involves overcoming challenges. Some of these are planned challenges, like a hike, an obstacle course, or learning to build a fire.
Other challenges aren’t planned. They may have a fight with a peer, fall in love and have their heart broken, or face their fear of heights.
No matter which challenges arrive, children don’t have their parents nearby. They are in a foreign environment, and they don’t have their usual support structure available. As a result, they learn to handle situations themselves.
It’s not easy. Being in these uncomfortable situations without being able to get help from usual sources is hard on kids. But don’t let the angst-filled letters to home fool you. The benefit of summer camp far outweighs the temporary discomfort.
The Value of Independence
Teaching a child to be independent is vital to their success as an adult. Autonomy helps kids avoid depending on others for their sense of self-worth and desire to achieve.
Independence also gives children the confidence to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. Kids get the chance to make these mistakes in a supervised environment – camp counselors and other adults can help them navigate issues that arise.
Independent kids know that they are competent and capable of taking care of themselves. They are intrinsically motivated and allowed to find their own reasons to achieve.
Independent children are better decision makers. They are able to consider various options, trust themselves to understand the good and bad aspects, and make their own choices.
That doesn’t mean that autonomous kids don’t need you or their peers. On the contrary, independent children understand that they can ask for help without losing their sense of self-determination.
Most of all, the independence learned at summer camp can help kids with other major steps in their lives. Handling challenges on their own, keeping track of their own clothes, living in a community, and having roommates are all essential skills for when children grow up, go to college, and move out on their own.
Other Benefits of Summer Camp
Independence is far from the only benefit kids gain from summer camp. Other extremely important skills and development are part of the experience as well:
Do you ever wish that you could move to a new city where no one knows you and start fresh? You could be anyone you want to be. You could reinvent yourself overnight.
This is the experience kids have in summer camp. One benefit of summer camp is that because the other youngsters don’t know your child, he or she can start fresh.
There’s no baggage of being “the geek” or “the tuba player.” Your child can start over completely, build new relationships, and discover new skills.
When your child realizes that they can get out of the box they’ve lived in at school and among their peers, they’ll gain a lot of confidence. In fact, they may decide to continue their new persona once they arrive home.
Building Self Confidence
Summer camp helps kids feel in control of themselves and their lives. They have new experiences without a parent looking over their shoulder.
In addition, many camps give kids more free time and ability to wander than they have at home. Your child may not be safe roaming the streets near your home, but at camp, they can enjoy a lot more freedom.
Camp counselors play an important role in self-confidence as well. The best counselors recognize the strengths in each child and draw those out. As a result, kids who go to camp come home realizing they are more competent than they previously believed.
Getting Physical Activity
Only one in four teens gets enough physical activity to be healthy. This has a terrible impact not just on physical health, but on energy and mental sharpness as well.
One benefit of being at summer camp is that children don’t have access to television and video game consoles. They are on the move much more often, engaged in hiking, swimming, and other physical activities.
By giving kids a significant amount of physical activity, fresh air, and sunshine, a summer camp can help your child feel more energetic, more optimistic, and happier when they return home.
Camp Helps Parents Grow
It’s no secret that letting your children go is not easy. Whether it’s seeing them off to kindergarten, their first sleepover, their first solo drive to school, or leaving for college, kids’ independence is hard.
When you let your kids go to a camp (especially an overnight camp) it causes you to grow as a parent. You accept that your kids are okay, even when you’re not there. You learn to trust other adults to care for your child.
Even more, you learn to trust your child to grow without you around. Parents have an enormous amount of time, energy, love, and emotion invested in their kids. Learning to let them be independent and learn on their own is important.
When your child is at summer camp, you can’t step in and save them from every challenge and difficulty. That’s a win – for both of you.
Kids who go to summer camp benefit in a wide variety of ways. The best camps are far more than babysitters – they focus on providing fun and challenging environments with activities that build confidence and develop skills.
If you’d like to learn more about how your child could benefit from summer camp, we’d love to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have today!