Five Reasons to Send your Kid to Camp

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Develop Independence

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

You are giving your child the opportunity to live and thrive without being with you and under your constant scrutiny. The growth in confidence and independence happen at camp BECAUSE you are not there.

Experience Outdoor Childhood Fun and Adventure

You are giving your child the gift of magical childhood memories — dirt, adventure, story, and joke-filled days and nights spent with friends outdoors, under the stars, and around the campfire. These childhood memories will last forever. And, as Michael Thompson, PhD, so eloquently states, “Our best childhood memories do not include adults.”

Relax

You are giving your child a break from the pressures and stress of competitive sports, school, and you. Forgive me if that offends, but I, too, am a well-meaning but over-involved parent who provides just a bit too much advice, feedback, and guidance to my children. Our kids need a break from our well-intentioned involvement in their lives.

Get Unplugged

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

You are giving your child the chance to unplug and connect face-to-face with other kids and positive, young-adult role models.

Become Better at Making and Keeping Friends

I feel like I have become a kinder person and am better at making friends because of camp.

—Third-year camper

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. So, if people ever question your decision to send your young child to a traditional, longer camp stay this summer, let them know that it’s hard for you to let your child go, but that you’re giving your child a gift that will have more impact than any material item you’ve ever given.


 

Five Reasons to Send your Kid to Camp was written by Audrey and Steve Monke. They have owned and directed Gold Arrow Camp (Lakeshore, California) for the past twenty-five years. They have five children (ages ten to twenty) who keep their life camp-like year round. Audrey has been a member of ACA since 1989 and was President of WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) from 2007–2010. She writes about camp and parenting at sunshine-parenting.com. This article was originally published at http://sunshineparenting.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/five-reasons-greatpar