During summer, kids are free from the pressure of school. Parents see this as an opportunity for their kids to improve their talents and acquire new skills so they send them to the camp. The camp is viewed by children as a place where they can play and have fun. Both are correct.
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While in school, children are judged based on their grades or scores; in the camp, they don’t have to worry about being judged. They are free to express themselves. In the camp, children will learn practical life lessons far beyond what they can learn from inside the classroom. In fact, parents and teachers alike notice how much the children who attended camp grow over the summer.
Free from technology distraction, children have time to relax, talk, listen, and reflect. There, they will learn to appreciate nature, work with others, make decisions for themselves, be independent, take responsibility for their every action, develop creativity, and gain confidence. Additionally, the summer camp helps children develop the much needed skills that would be beneficial to them when they become adult. According to studies, summer camp nurtures emotional intelligence (EQ), healthy living, leadership, and other equally important skills.
The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project studied the effects of camp on children. The results showed that a camp can provide safe environment for children who grew up in an over-protective environment so they can learn, grow, and develop their potentials.
Here are the primary benefits of summer camp to your kids:
1. Build friendships and develop social skills
“Camp provides children with a ‘blank slate,’ allowing them to try on different behaviors and identities. And the relatively short duration of a camp session decreases the cost of making mistakes.”
At first, it may be frightening for some to meet new people, especially the socially inept children for they fear rejection or humiliation from peers. But in the camp, children are encouraged to interact with each other. The camp encourages activities that foster teamwork, cooperation, and negotiation.
All these help kids develop their social skills, improve their self-confidence, and test their independence. You only have to talk to any former campers and they will tell you how they found their lifelong best friends and give tips on how to make friends in the camp.
One of the most important findings of Canadian Summer Camp Research Project was in the scope of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient. EQ is the ability of a person to identify, understand, and control his emotion. A child with higher EQ is able to empathize and relate with others. This is the characteristic that helps children get along and play with other kids.
This is one of the benefits of summer camp—children learning how to interact with their peers. For a child, EQ is just as important as IQ.
2. Develop resiliency and self-confidence
“Camp does a really good job of teaching kids it’s okay to fail and helps them recognize their limitations, and see these are things that are not fixed and can be improved upon.”
Children who have been in “secure” environment learn to get out of their comfort zone at camp. Over-protective parents only want their children to be safe and sheltered, but they should be aware that camp is a safe place for their kids for exploring and learning through activities such as wilderness camping, high ropes courses or musical performances, and many others.
At camp, children are taught to accept their limitations, that it’s all right to fail. Based on the research, the camp is good at making children see what their weaknesses are that they can fix it. By letting children take a risk when facing challenges, the camp is encouraging them to become self-reliant and resilient and helps them build their self-esteem in a secure and supportive environment.
These are all vital life skills that may help children at school and at home. According to Mike Pearse, a director of Camp Tawingo in Ontario, Canada, there are four hard skills in the camp experience: perseverance, creativity, responsibility, and bravery.
This helps children boost their self-confidence and this could translate to overall improved performance in school.
3. Physically active
“Along with banning the use of electronics, many camps provide a daily routine that involves waking up early, getting lots of physical activity, eating regular meals and spending extended periods of time outdoors.”
Many children nowadays find it hard to live without the gadgets for their entertainment. Many parents leave their homes in the morning with their children sitting in front of the computer or busy with their smartphones Facebook-ing or playing, and they often find them in the same position doing the exactly the same thing when they get home in the evening. So it didn’t come as a surprise when a study in Canada revealed that 93 percent of youth aged 6 to 19 did not meet the suggested one hour of workout every day.
In the end, campers will eventually realize that they love being physically active because it makes them feel good. And before they know it, they are living a healthy life.