Attending summer camp is an American tradition that has long been considered a right of passage. Many of your most cherish memories growing up occurred at summer camp — going on hikes, sitting around a bonfire, making arts and crafts. Beyond just learning the art of macrame and getting to go horseback riding, summer camp is a place where children build character and develop skills that will be an asset throughout their lives. Consider a few of the life skills that children learn through summer camp:
Five Life Skills That Children Learn at Summer Camp
When a preschool or kindergarten age child goes to summer camp for the first time, this might be the first experience they’ve ever had away from their parents. It can be intimidating and scary at first, but as they enjoy the enrichment activities they participate in, they gain a self confidence and a sense of independence. The independence that a child gains at summer camp will serve them throughout their school careers and beyond.
Summer camp is a melting pot of children from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. Some summer camp participants might come from prestigious private schools, while some are from their neighborhood public school. Some summer campers are part of religious organizations and some are not. Some children are athletic, some are artistic, some are neither. Being put in an environment where a child has fun with other kids of diverse cultures who they never would have crossed paths with otherwise broadens their global perspective and gives them a sense of tolerance that they’ll carry with them throughout their life.
- Decision-making Skills
As we touched on in the first point, summer camp is often the first environment a child is in without their parents. While at home, most parents guide their children throughout the day and help them make the best choices. While this is a a good thing (and one of the most important parts of a parent’s job), being at summer camp gives a child the a safe and supervised environment to make decisions for themselves. The decisions that a child is faced with at summer camp generally isn’t life altering: which kind of activity to participate in and what to eat for lunch. Gaining the understanding of the impact of making your own choices and the ability to determine the best path to take can be life altering though.
- An Appreciation for the Simple Things
Our culture is more “plugged in” than ever before. Children these days will never know what it’s like to not have Google to answer all of their questions. Our age of electronics has many many good contributions to society, but one downside is that many children spend most of their lives in front of a screen.
Going to summer camp is one of the best ways to unplug and help a child gain an appreciation for the simple things: the sense of accomplishment that comes with making something with your own two hands. The beauty and aw of the great outdoors. The ability to read a map, build a fire, or assemble a tent for themselves. Opening a child’s eyes to the incredible world that lays beyond the screen is an incredible benefit of sending them to summer camp.
- Physical Fitness
Many summer camps are focused on physical activity. Campers enjoy hiking, obstacle courses, or perhaps a particular sport. While one in every five children suffer from obesity in the American society, helping a child gain a love for physical activity is a wonderful way to help them develop healthy lifestyles and avoid weight issues.
As the saying goes, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Or as we like to phrase it, “If you give a child a carrot, he’ll eat healthy for a day. If you teach a child to love physical fitness, he’ll lead a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime.”
Did you ever attend summer camp as a child? Do you feel you gained any lifelong skills from it? Please share your input in the comment section below!