Does Your Child Need Summer Camp?

I read a great article by Lenore Skenazy recently discussing summer camps and their inherent worth in the contemporary world.

With many years of experience as both a summer camp director as well as a boarding school teacher, I have seen the emotions that parents are overcome with when they say goodbye to their children and leave them at either camp or school.

What the parents are not privy to are the emotions that the children are overcome with…..it really is a fascinating dichotomy.

‘Kidsickness’

Skezany uses the term ‘kidsickness’ which is a new trend that seems to be best defined as “by a combination of love and anxiety” (Skezany, 2014).

Children are incredibly resilient and while there is certainly a degree of anxiety that they face when Mom and Dad leave, there is also a sense of independent curiosity that takes over for most!

Summer camp provides children with the opportunity to be themselves and not be bothered by any of the hesitations they may feel normally.

At Camp Canada we keep our Facebook page updated regularly, especially during our 2 week camp, and some of the comments we receive from parents who see their children doing new and adventurous things are heart-warming to ready.

“I don’t know how you guys have enabled my child to become so social.  I truly have never seen that side of him outside of our home.  I am so proud of what he’s done and so grateful that he has this opportunity.”

This particular camper was a young man who was incredibly introverted and kept to himself for the first day of camp; however, after only 2 days he was laughing and carrying on like he had been there for years!

Seeing him leave with his parents after the 2 weeks was very rewarding as he carried himself with a newfound sense of confidence and belonging.  That is the power of summer camp.

‘Helicopter Parent’

Another buzzword that has appeared in the last 5-10 years is that of ‘helicopter parent’.  The basic idea is that the parents hover over their children and are there to swoop in to ensure that problems are solved and the path is cleared for their child to succeed.

This has been a trap that adults have fallen into.  In this scenario children are losing the ability to develop resourcefulness.  All parents can agree that watching their children try to put puzzle pieces together, or write their alphabet, or be part of the top sports team, can be frustrating and wanting to help is a natural feeling….but the reality is that children need to learn to do it themselves.

Summer camp is a perfect venue for these skills to be honed.  When Mom and Dad are not around the kids are forced to figure things out on their own, often manifesting itself as maturity!

How can this maturity be implemented so quickly?  Very simply with a different set of expectations!

Camp counselors are not going to clean up the campers rooms nor are they going to cook a different meal because they don’t like the one being offered.  As the camp unfolds, new habits begin to take root.

Now, these habits may or may not continue when the campers go home but I have heard from multiple parents about the positive change in their children after returning home from summer camp!

Summer camp isn’t the answer to kids problems but it sure helps solve some of them!  If you’re interested in knowing more about our international summer camp please email us at info@gocampcanada.ca

Cheers,

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