Recently, we discussed why summer camp is so important for your children. “Camp gives kids the chance to immerse themselves in nature, and get away from the gadgets and screens that often occupy them,” says Mary Elizabeth DeAngelis, Charlotte Observer. And the benefits are numerous, including intellectual exercise, personal growth and development, teamwork, physical exercise, and, of course, friendship. However, there is one tremendous benefit that is often overlooked – Leadership Development.
“As a society, we tend to look at college acceptance, graduate school degrees, and professional recognition as indicators of leadership,” says Wayne Meisel, Huffington Post. “Summer camp often gets skipped over in the interview or on the resume, but the experience should not be underestimated.”
Camp Helps You Become a Stronger Leader During Summer Vacation
“Leaders are likely to have had developmental experiences well before reaching mid-management and these early development experiences are important for adulthood,” write psychologists Susan Murphy and Stefanie Johnson, who believe leadership skills can be developed as early as 2 years of age. “We argue that early experiences create the foundation for future leadership development to build on.”
Summer camp is one of these opportunities for early leadership development – learning skills that a child will carry throughout their lives.
“Summer camp is the unsung hero of our culture,” says Meisel. “Summer camp serves a critical role as a primary training ground for local and global leadership.” More often than not, summer campers “become people who can lead with flexibility, think creatively on their feet, organize people for a common purpose, and infuse the workplace with positive corporate culture and cheer,” adds Meisel.
At camp, children learn a number of important leadership skills:
- Conflict Resolution: Campers are “encouraged to respect the differences between people,” says Michael Brandwein, speaker and consultant. “Children are taught responsible and positive ways to resolve conflicts.”
- Teamwork: 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 James Spearin, YMCA senior vice president of youth development.
- Problem Solving & Social Development: “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 Peter Scales, Ph.D., a senior fellow with the Search Institute in Minneapolis.
- Positive Feedback & Praise: A large part of leadership is not only motivating your team, but also providing meaningful feedback in a positive way. “You may think this is the sort of touchy-feeling ‘everyone is special’ stuff that only builds a sense of entitlement in young people,” says Jill Geisler, Poynter, but positive communication simply goes further than negative feedback. It’s all about learning opportunities. Even in failure, there is a chance for personal growth and development. It is up to a leader to recognize these opportunities and impact change.
“These skills transfer and build adults with strong character and leadership,” adds Spearin. “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.”
Help Your Child Grow as a Leader This Summer
“I often half joke that in the workplace, I encounter two types of people: those who went to summer camp, and those who did not,” says Meisel. And the simple fact is that “adolescent leaders are more likely to take up managerial positions as adults, and leadership skills developed early on can have a positive impact on future wages,” write researchers Despoina Karagianni and Anthony Jude Montgomery.
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.
- Correspondent, Mary Elizabeth DeAngelis. “Summer camp gives kids a chance to build their leadership skills.” Charlotteobserver, Charlotte Observer, www.charlotteobserver.com/living/helping-others/summer-camp-fund/article85797452.html
- Geisler, Jill. “What I Learned about Leadership at Summer Camp.” Poynter, 2 Mar. 2017, www.poynter.org/news/what-i-learned-about-leadership-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.
- Meisel, Wayne. “Where Leadership Thrives: Summer Camp And The Hope For The World.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 June 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/where-leadership-thrives-summer-camp-and-the-hope_us_5940c7abe4b0d99b4c920fe1.
- Montgomery, Anthony, and Despoina Karagianni. “Developing leadership skills among adolescents and young adults: a review of leadership programmes.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673843.2017.1292928. Accessed 25 Aug. 2017.
- Murphy, Susan Elaine, and Stefanie K. Johnson. “The benefits of a long-Lens approach to leader development: Understanding the seeds of leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 3, 2011, pp. 459–470., doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.04.004.