There are so many benefits of why you should send your child to a US Summer Camp. It’s a fun carefree summer where they can learn more about themselves and have fun in a different environment, whilst enjoying many of the activities camp has to offer, children can grow, explore and develop many lifelong skills.
When I was a child, I grew up watching camp rock and the parent trap and always thought “wow! That looks amazing, I want to go!” but unfortunately US Summer camps aren’t as traditional in the UK as they are in the USA. During my childhood I tried to do anything that was like a camp. I did clubs like Brownies and Guides, which allowed me to experience the adventure, building friendships and learning lifelong skills that would help me in adult life and then once I finished secondary school I took part in the closest thing to a summer camp which was NCS (National Citizen Service) where I spent 2 weeks away from home at a PGL holiday camp partaking in activities and challenges, meeting new people and learning key skills that set me up for the future. This experience I will never forget as it really shaped me into the person I am today which then led me onto becoming a camp counsellor in America and really living out my dream!
I am proof that going to a summer camp benefits children in so many ways and shapes them into the young adult’s they will become and here’s a few reasons why sending your child to a summer camp will be the best thing you ever do!
When a child goes to summer camp, they are given the opportunity to grow more independent in a safe environment. Having time apart from their family for the duration of the summer can be daunting as it may be their first time away from home and you! However, it allows them to learn to step out of their comfort zone, be responsible and more self-reliant. Although your child will be making some decisions for themselves, counsellors are always around to help guide your child in the right direction, mostly reminding them of the things parents normally would like brushing their hair and teeth, tidying up and when it’s time to go to bed!
Children get the freedom of choosing what activities they want to do over the summer and how they spend their free time. This allows them to make their own decisions and helps them find out what they like and what they don’t!
The moment a child steps onto campgrounds, they will feel a sense of community. When I was a counsellor at a US summer camp in Minnesota, as soon as the campers arrived, we cheered for them whilst they were coming off the bus or out the car. We would welcome everyone with a big smile on our faces, ready to start the amazing summer! We would then take them to their cabins where they get to unpack and meet all the other campers for the first time. This is where we would play introductory games so everyone gets a chance to tell us more about themselves and settle in! I can guarantee it doesn’t take long before your child forms friendships with other campers. The friendship bond is so much stronger whilst being at camp as they learn to live and experience camp together.
Not only do they build friendships with the children in their cabin, but they also get the chance to gain new friends within their activities. Most activities are for children of all ages, so they get to socialise with everyone becoming role models to the younger campers and looking up to and learning from the older ones.
Most summer camps have a no phone policy and in most cases are technology free! Camp helps children get away from the screen and their routine of watching tv, being on their phone or playing games on their computer. Kids will spend their day being physically active by participating in the activities they have chosen, that way they get to socialise, connect face to face with other children, be themselves and get their body and brain moving!
USA Summer camps are typically based in a remote and natural area with a huge lake nearby, offering 100’s of activities and allows the campers to experience the outdoors opposed to being inside all day. Camp really brings everyone together, there’s no expectations, it’s a place where kids can be themselves and relax. Every day is filled with laughter, chatting, playing, and singing all day every day!
During my summer as a counsellor, one thing we did in our cabin was a book club. Most children, as they don’t have technology, love to bring a few books or go to the camp library so they can read before bed or during their free time.
At the end of the day at vespers we would then discuss what happened in our book and what our opinions were on it, then once we were finished reading, we would then pass our book to someone else in the cabin who had asked to read it! This allowed children to learn how to share, communicate and respect each other in a positive way.
You probably won’t realise how much camp has benefitted your child until they have returned home, and you have seen the positive changes yourself! The skills such as teamwork, leadership, confidence, and responsibility learned at camp will carry on beyond the end of summer and transfer into school and daily life. Whilst your child is having the best summer enjoying newfound activities they are also being educated and challenged whilst doing so. Children will learn personal growth and development from learning from their mistakes and achieving the goals they have set over the summer. Whether that be conquering their fear of heights by completing the high ropes course, seeing how fast they can run on the inflatable water obstacles before falling in or beating their high score in archery! There are so many accomplishments and skills that your child will make over the summer that will make both you and them proud.
Once your child has gone to camp once, they will want to go back every summer going forward! Kids will come home from having the best summer ever and I can guarantee that’s all you’ll hear about for months to come! Kids will be desperate to tell you all about the fun activities they have taken part in and all the awards they got, the 100’s of photos of them and their new friends by the lake and showing you the many arts and crafts, they have made throughout the summer. You’ll be hearing camp songs non-stop to the point where you’ll know all the words and you’ll be singing along too (camp songs are very catchy)! Most children do form lifelong friendships, so they do keep in contact by either letters, emails or social media when summer has ended!