When it comes to your kids, you’re always ahead of the curve. Birthday parties? Planned. Doctor’s appointments? Scheduled. Extra Curriculars? Organized.
But summer camp? Leave that to us! Wait…summer camp? Seriously. Summer camp is a key ingredient in the development of your child.
Why is Summer Camp So Important for Kids?
“The environment and activities at camp incorporate all of the elements of healthy youth development,” according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive. “Summer camp provides young people with productive and creative uses for their time by offering a valuable mix of both physical and intellectual activities.” These camps are designed as a way to maximize summer vacation and address learning in a way that school simply falls short.
“Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment,” says Peter Scales, Ph.D., a senior fellow with the Search Institute in Minneapolis. “Most schools don’t satisfy all these needs.”
Furthermore, summer camps get students off the streets and into meaningful programs.
“It gets them away from a neighborhood or situation that may exist in their neighborhoods that isn’t healthy,” says former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former chair of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. “To give our children a safe place to learn and grow–camp does that.”
Physical and Psychological Benefits of Summer Camp
“In a distracting digital world, camp offers valuable space where kids can slow down, connect and focus,” says Christa Melnyk Hines, Indy’s Child. This invaluable experience helps children in a number of ways, impacting both physical and mental health.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) reports that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer. Summer camp is an excellent way to keep your child’s mind sharp without subjecting him/her to summer school.
“Summer camps, we discovered, are perfect places to help children optimize their psychosocial development,” writes researcher Michael Ungar. Children learn how to problem solve, work as a team, and think outside the box.
“The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing,”says Michael Popkin, Ph.D., family therapist and founder of Active Parenting. “Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school.” In fact,according to an extensive study of camper outcomes conducted by Philliber Research Associates, 70 percent of parents report that their child gained self-confidence while at camp.
“At camp, children learn to problem-solve, make social adjustments to new and different people, learn responsibility, and gain new skills to increase their self-esteem,” says Dr. Scales.
“Summer camp taught me foundational principles I now rely on as an adult,” says Todd Kestin, Huffpost. Camps put children in situations where they interact in tight-knit communities, learning invaluable interpersonal skills, such as communication. “Camp is a community away from home and school where kids learn to work with each other and adult mentors, build relationships and manage conflict,” says Hines.
“These skills transfer and build adults with strong character and leadership,” adds James Spearin, YMCA senior vice president of youth development. “Those tangible experiences lead to building the foundations of stronger children who can lead others, show empathy, navigate through difficult group dynamics, value the differences in everyone, and give of oneself for the benefit of others. These are skills that the best in our society show throughout life.”
Teamwork & Friendship
At camp, children “ learn to navigate through group dynamics, to barter, to keep one another happy, to be sensitive and support a friend who’s sad,” says Spearin. They are “urged to include, not exclude, others,” adds Michael Brandwein, speaker and consultant. “They are praised for choosing new partners and not always the same ones. They are encouraged to respect the differences between people. In an increasingly sarcastic, put-down-oriented world, camps aim to be an oasis of personal safety where demeaning comments and disrespectful behavior are not tolerated, and children are taught responsible and positive ways to resolve conflicts.”
Getting Back to Nature
According to a nationwide poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy, only about 10 percent of children spend time outdoors every day. In fact, a 2010 study conducted by One Poll in the UK, 44 percent of parents admit that they played outside more growing up han their children do now. “Research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago – and much more time doing ‘inside activities,” writes researcher Juster, F. Thomas. Summer camp is a great way for kids to get out of the house and interact with nature.
“Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development ,” says child advocacy expert Richard Louv.
Fun & Exciting Summer Day Camps in Savage Mill, Maryland
Terrapin Adventures, conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, offers three fun and exciting summer camp experiences designed to challenge your children physically and intellectually. We maintain a ratio of one Camp Counselor for every six campers, providing encouragement, support and a helping hand when needed.
Give your child a new experience that they’ll remember for years to come.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Ayres, Van Slyck Abigail. A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890-1960. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 2006. Print.
- “Benefits of Camp: Psychological Aspects.” American Camp Association, 23 Nov. 2016, www.acacamps.org/press-room/benefits-of-camp/psychological-aspects.
- Boy Scouts of America: Summer Camps Outcome Study A study conducted by Harris Interactive
- Brown, Scott. “4 Ways Summer Camp Benefits School-Age Children.” ACTIVEkids, Active.com, 10 Mar. 2016, www.activekids.com/parenting-and-family/articles/4-ways-summer-camp-benefits-school-age-children?page=1.
- Hines, Christa Melnyk . “8 Benefits of Summer Camp.” Indy’s Child Parenting Magazine, 28 Feb. 2017, indyschild.com/the-benefits-of-summer-camp/.
- Kestin, Todd. “5 Ways Summer Camp Helps Your Child Prepare for Adulthood.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 30 May 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/todd-kestin/how-summer-camp-helps-your-child-prepare-for-adulthood_b_5401420.html.
- Symonds, Dominic. We’ll Have Manhattan: The Early Work of Rodgers and Hart. New York, NY: Oxford U, 2015. Print.
- Ungar, Michael. “Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient.” Psychology Today (2012). Web.