by GAYLA GRACE
I treasure the stories my children tell after arriving home from summer camp. The week-long adventures include experiences sure to build character and bond relationships. Every camp has a unique way of teaching kids their value while giving them opportunities to experience all kinds of fun they would never find at home.
The spring months are the perfect time to begin exploring summer camps. To find one that fits your child’s needs, seek out opinions from friends and neighbors; ask teachers and church counselors what camps they recommend. Whether day camp or overnight camp, there’s sure to be one your child will love and gain valuable skills from while attending.
Camp counselor Jamie Newman, who has worked the past two summers at a children’s camp for kids ages 5 to 16, expresses her enthusiasm for sending kids to camp. She says, “Camp encourages kids to try new things and teaches them confidence through new experiences. They learn valuable life lessons when encouraged to work through their fears and try something even if it doesn’t feel comfortable to them. Also, when kids are thrown together in a cabin for a week, they’re forced to learn how to get along with others and often build lasting relationships that can continue when they return home.”
Our five kids have attended summer camps ranging from athletic camps to church camps to choir and band camps. Each camp plays a unique role in building character qualities and creating life-long memories through everyday activities and interactions with others.
Whether day camp or overnight camp, there’s sure to be one your child will love and gain valuable skills from while attending.
If you need some encouragement to give your child the gift of summer camp, here are a few thoughts to consider:
1. Camp encourages independence and allows children a chance to make decisions on their own in a safe, caring environment. Kids benefit from new relationships with camp counselors who care about them and want to help them with everyday struggles.
2. Camp forces kids to unplug from technology and enjoy the beauty and benefits of nature. Through outside activities, kids find new hobbies they can’t experience at home, without academic pressure or expectations. Kids gain self-confidence through trying new things and discovering talents they didn’t know they had.
3. Camp teaches good sportsmanship by encouraging each child to be fair and kind, win or lose. Team activities teach kids how to cooperate with another and the value of getting along with others through working together and supporting one another.
4. Camp fosters new friendships with kids who come from varying backgrounds—helping kids gain an understanding of how others live outside their community. In a relaxed atmosphere, kids easily make friends while they play, sing, work, eat and bunk together.
5. Camp creates life-long memories of new adventures in places they’ve never experienced before. Camp offers carefree days where kids can learn how to thrive outside the structure of over-scheduled days.
Some children may not want to go to camp; they may worry about becoming homesick, or that they’ll have an accident or not like the food. If a child is reluctant, being able to go with a very good friend may help, but it doesn’t help to force the issue. Time may change their mind; on the other hand, kids can grow up perfectly well without ever going to an overnight camp. Camps are also very expensive for many families, but frequently churches help pay the cost for attending a faith-related camp.
So what are you waiting for? It may not be too late to sign up for camp even this year, or help your child plan and save for another year. Have you signed your child up for camp yet? There’s week-long adventure and character-building experiences waiting for your child!
GAYLA GRACE is from Louisiana and sends her kids to camp every summer and always looks forward to hearing new stories when they return.