Summer is just around the corner and we’ve got the skinny on why many parents send their kids to camp each Summer. The American Camps Association (ACA) is a community all about promoting the benefits of Camp to kids nationwide. In the Summer, they concluded a 5-year long research project looking into the effects of camp on their campers and how camps prepare youth for college, careers, and adulthood. The results are in, and the positives are endless.
Here are 5 reasons parents can feel good about sending their kids to camp:
Going to camp – whether for a day or for a summer – gives children the opportunity to thrive without being under a parents constant supervision. This promotes independence, confidence and mindfulness in the child, which in turn is shown to promote academic and social skill development as well as overall healthy psychological functioning.
“Going to camp has made me even more independent and a much better people-person. I am able to go confidently up to someone and introduce myself or hang out with someone new because of my time at camp.” ~ Fifth-year camper
Experience Outdoor Childhood Fun and Adventure
Children will develop their own, individual – and fun! – memories (think dirt, adventure, stories, jokes, and days and nights spent with friends outdoors). Not only does the data suggest that fun plays an important role in helping campers feel free from worry and connected to the moment, allowing their memories to last a lifetime.
Children are given a break from the pressures and stress of everyday life – competitive sports, school, and even life at home. This distinct stress reduction element can potentially change how campers grow as individuals.
Children have the chance to unplug and connect face-to-face with other kids and positive, young-adult role models. Interestingly, a handful of participants discussed the separation from technology as something that helped them feel present in the moment. Screens and their effects on learning are well documented in the ACA’s research, which means we can be pretty confident that technology-free experiences at camp have an impact on the extent to which campers develop important Social Emotional Learning skills.
“Camp has helped me appreciate nature and the outdoors a lot more than I think I would have if I didn’t go. I can go without my phone or connection to social media awhile because camp has shown me that amazing stuff happens when you put your phone down and have a nice conversation with someone.” ~ Fifth-year camper
Become Better at Making and Keeping Friends
The bonding and friendships that happen at camp are different from those that occur at school and on sports teams. The intensity of living together and experiencing life together, without distractions, creates the ideal setting to form lifelong friendships and really get to know people well. Camp also encourages kids abilities to make friends. Even camps with shorter schedules create powerful connections because they provide a unique environment for learning, prioritization of youth, and daily opportunities to bond with others.
“I feel like I have become a kinder person and am better at making friends because of camp.” ~ Third-year camper