A lot of parents struggle with the decision to whether or not send their children to sleep away camp. After all, it’s a big decision to make, especially for kids who are not used to spending a long period of time away from their parents or from home. While it might seem scary at first, sleep away camp is a great way for kids to build self-confidence, meet new people, acquire new skills and better yet, come home as a totally new person.
Many sleep away camps are small communities away from home and school where kids learn to work with each other and adult mentors. They also build relationships and learn how to manage conflict. In many cases, the summer camp experience can give kids an advantage in school and in life.That’s because they interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax, and reflect. Of course, mom and dad do that too, but at camp you have interrupted time with people who help you focus on the things that matter. They learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self-reliance, and gain confidence.
A lot of parents worry that if they send their tween or teen to overnight summer camp, they might not take care of the important daily elements of their lives. For instance, they might ignore their hygiene and not shower or brush their teeth as often as they do at home. But that’s usually not the case at all. In fact, many young kids learn how to become independent very quickly. Without mom and dad by their side, they learn valuable life skills and habits like making and preparing their own meals, taking care of their personal belongings and of course, their bodies. In addition, the experience may also help him find a hobby or a life passion that he otherwise may never have known about.
Plus, the earlier children learn independence, the more prepared they will be for college and later on in life.
Building Social Skills
For a lot of first timers, sleep away camp means they get to build social skills with people they don’t necessarily see in their everyday lives. Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other, regardless of who you are or where you come from.
Plus, there’s also the added benefit that a camp friendship may last a lifetime. That, or only a summer, but either way camp offers children the opportunity to branch out from their regular circle of friends. They also learn to connect with other people in positive ways.
There’s also this: camp allows for a chance for children to truly understand the thought that goes into making a good decision, and will discover even more about themselves in the process.
In order to build resilience, kids need to learn how to make connections, how to help others, and move towards new goals. They also nee to learn how to murder a positive self-view. Luckily, kids have a great opportunity to do all of this at summer camp.
Whether they work through homesickness or tackle an activity that pushed them outside of their comfort zone, kids get to build their executive functioning and also learn that it’s OK to ask for help. Over all, they walk away feeling a stronger sense of personal pride and self-reliance. And of course, more mature.
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Learning New Skills
Camp can get kids going, both mentally and physically. They also learn how to make their own choices and use critical thinking skills without mom or dad around. Typically, camp counselors don’t hover the way that parents are known to do. And that’s why your child will be responsible for making many decisions on his own – regardless if they are good or bad.
Plus, kids and teens are able to really get out of their comfort zone to take some risks with their skills. This can happen without the looming fear of failure and resulting repercussions.
Spending Time In The Great Outdoors
In addition to all of the above, many resident camps do not allow electronic devices. This means that everything from cell phones, iPads, or other plugged-in devices and distractions are either put away or left at home.
Without electronic tablets, your child will learn to slow down and appreciate other worthy experiences in life. And in some instances, they will appreciate the great outdoors! After all, when kids take a break from screens – whether it be television, cell phones, and the internet - they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world.
Last but not least, time away from home helps kids appreciate home. They have a better appreciation of their parents and all they do for them. They also learn how to better take care of their belongings, appreciate a meal cooked by mom or dad, and everything else they didn’t have with them at camp.