If you’re wondering if summer camp is right for your child, chances are the answer is yes. It’s often harder for parents to part with children than for the kid to say “see ya” to Mom and Dad, but parents, camp could be the best thing that ever happened to your family!
Summer camp allows kids to be independent in a safe environment
Even the most protective parent wants her children to grow up to be independent, productive, and balanced adults. Summer camp allows kids to feel a sense of independence. They choose their activities on a daily basis, and they must make friends in a neutral environment. They are responsible for keeping their cabin clean, and often, cleaning up the camp site as well.
Kids get a chance to make choices for themselves: they can secretly stay up all night with their new found friends, eat too much candy from a care package, and never make their bed. However, summer camp is a safe environment where there are always counselors and other staff to be sure your child is never in a truly dangerous situation.
Summer camp teaches kids to be part of a community
At summer camp, kids are placed with their peers in an environment where they’re stuck with one another. They’ll be living, eating, sleeping, and playing together, like it or not. This may sound negative in theory, but what ends up happening is almost magical. Because kids have no choice in their community for this time, they figure out how to live together. They figure out how to share space, resources, and conversation. It’s a lesson a lot of adults could use, too!
Your kids will come home better behaved, and more willing to sacrifice, share, and save for the good of the family. Their interactions with their brothers and sisters will become more civilized (not perfect — they were only at camp for a week, right?), and they will be more likely to pitch in around the house.
Summer camps teach kids to care for the Earth
Kids are constantly in the outdoors at summer camp, and even if your summer camp doesn’t have a specifically environmental focus, kids will return with a different appreciation for their natural surroundings. Most summer camps do practice and teach basic environmental care, such as recycling, composting, and conservation. You might just get a lecture from your nine-year-old the next time you throw a plastic bottle in the trash can!
Summer camps give parents a vacation
Most of all, parents, you get a week or more of time without your child. This could sound like a downer at first, but think back to the last romantic night alone you had – without kids. Even if it’s just a quiet dinner at home, with a movie on the couch, take advantage of this opportunity for alone time. Many camps have multiple age levels at camp at the same time, so you really can get some peace and quiet all at once!
Summer camp is a longstanding childhood tradition, and for good reason. Your kids won’t come back in the same state you dropped them off. They’ll likely be sunburned, dirty, and tired; but they’ll also be simply better kids all around. Summer camp is an investment you can’t afford not to make.