It takes courage to send your child to camp. If you’ve ever been a camper, then you already know the value of a camp experience. If you have not had that fortune, then you probably need a little more support to understand that it’s the greatest gift you can give your child.
Camp is a building block and a bridge to the successful development of young people. Parents of campers have documented that as a result of camp, their child felt successful, made new friends, gained new skills, learned to get along better with others, and found out what he or she was good at.
Children experience numerous positive changes, thanks to their camp experience, including:
1. Increased social competence (friends, teamwork, getting along)
2. Increased self-identity (trying new things, finding successes, knowing it’s okay to make mistakes)
3. Increased positive values (respecting others, sense of responsibility, standing for what is right)
4. Increased cognitive skills (learning about the environment and how things work)
5. Opportunities to participate in the outdoors (learning motor skills and “having a blast”)
Camp is one of the few places that provides a positive community for kids to practice growing up. They gain a sense of competency, a feeling of connectedness, a belief in their ability to make decisions, and a stable identity (learning new skills, getting helpful feedback).
Kids also learn to navigate on their own: they develop social skills, coping skills, responsibility, and engage in sensible risk-taking.
The life skills and behaviors learned at camp become habits of the heart. You could say that camp is an important thread in the fabric of child and youth development opportunities.
This article is the result of Outcomes Research conducted by the American Camp Association