You have probably heard from a million different people the benefits of camping for kids. Or as you scour the web for the best camp for your child there are aspects of each that seem to “fit” what you think your child needs and then there are others that don’t. The fact is that there are so many types of camps (and so many types of children) that bringing the two together (your child and a camp) is not an easy! As a parent and a camp director I have found one common concern that I think most parents can relate to:
We want our kids to find success. Whether it is in a particular sport, the arts, social skills, or spiritually, there is nothing quite like seeing a child excited about something that they are personally investing themselves in. The problem I hear about from most parents (which I can absolutely relate to with my own family) is that their child has not yet found their best avenue for success. At this point the path of least resistance is often to gravitate towards video games where no one knows if you try and fail! Insert a good summer camp here.
A good summer camp will provide:
- Plenty of activity options for your child to gradually invest themselves in. No child is the same and there should be a healthy variety of interesting possibilities to choose from.
- The opportunity for each camper to measure their success within each activity. They need to see their own progress and be rewarded for their efforts.
- An environment where failure is not a source of fear. Some children are so afraid of failure that the possibility paralyzes them from pushing ahead. Camp can be a unique environment to try new avenues of success without fear because:
- Everyone is learning new things at the same time so it becomes part of the culture.
- A child is in an entirely new surrounding both socially and physically. This offers them the opportunity to re-make themselves into a person who thrives in this new, uplifting camp environment.
- Counselors who care about the children finding success. The greatest part about camp for me as a boy was the fact that these amazing, college-aged men actually wanted to spend time getting to know who I was. My parents had told me a lot of things about life that I needed to do (and what to avoid) but I heard those things only marginally. However, when my counselors said the same things I hung on every word and incorporated those things into my life immediately! The result was lifelong.
In the right camp setting, children can walk away from their camp experience with more ability to handle what life throws at them. They can know finally what success looks like personally. And they can walk unafraid of failure. This will help them when they go off to college, get married, make tough business decisions, make tough family decisions, and they might even learn how to tie some handy knots for wilderness survival in the process!