6 Ways Kids Grow at Summer Camp
It’s so hard to believe that it’s already March, and that summer is just around the corner. As spring brings warm weather and blooming flowers, it is the perfect time to finalize your family’s summer plans. Before you know it, your kids will be out of school and ready to have a summer full of fun and adventure.
For parents, the tricky part of summer break is balancing all of the fun and excitement with learning so that kids can avoid the all-too-real “summer slide.” Did you know that summer camp could be the answer to the age-old question of how to keep your child’s mind engaged while still having fun? Here are the top six ways summer camp helps kids grow and learn outside the classroom.
1. Kids Develop Confidence
At summer camp, your child will have the chance to participate in activities that they may have never tried before or think they aren’t capable of doing. As a result of building skills and becoming better at something, children’s overall self-confidence will improve, translating to courage in other areas of life including in school, on the ball field or in peer groups.
2. Summer Camp Builds Character
Look for summer camps that align with your personal values because these will be communicated verbally and through actions by leadership. Under the guidance of compassionate, strong and servant-hearted camp counselors, kids will learn from example what it looks like to live a life full of character and integrity. Counselors can help kids work through things like decision making and interpersonal conflict in a way that is positive and uplifting. When character meets confidence, children can better resist peer pressures and truly live lives that reflect their own values.
3. Campers Form Lifelong Friendships
Summer camp is without a doubt an incredible environment in which your child can foster lifelong friendships. According to information provided by the American Camp Association, 96 percent of campers said that a summer camp experience helped them make new friends. When campers interact with one another in positive and encouraging environments, led by counselors who respond to them with kindness and undivided attention, they can learn what it means to be a good friend and how to get to know people who have unique differences.
4. Kids Grow in Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
At Kanakuk, we live by the golden rule, which means in all circumstances we ask campers to treat others as they would want to be treated. When children learn to think beyond themselves, it encourages growth in the areas of empathy and emotional intelligence. They learn how to look outside of their own bubble and see how their actions can impact the people around them. This transfers well into the home, classroom and extracurricular communities.
5. Camp Gives Students a Chance to Unplug and Recharge
It’s no secret that in today’s culture, kids often end up spending a large majority of their time staring at screens inside – whether scrolling through social media or playing video games. One of the most beautiful parts of camp is that for a period of time, children will completely unplug from all technology. Not only will this allow them to literally recharge their mind with creativity and focus, but it also gives them the chance to reconnect with nature as they spend time outside playing. Kids can just be kids.
6. Activities Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
As a result of benefits like providing kids with the chance to recharge their minds and spend time outside, camp also teaches kids what it means to live a healthy lifestyle – mind, body and soul. Children stay active at summer camp and learn that they feel better when they move their bodies and engage their minds.
Summer camp isn’t just beneficial for kids – it can be a great investment for parents, too! What parent couldn’t use a kid-free week for self-care, reconnection or to spend time accomplishing important tasks they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to do? Take advantage of the fact that your kids are in a safe place, growing, learning and having fun while you do the same in your community.
So how will your child spend his or her summer? Could a week or even a month at summer camp be the opportunity they’ve long awaited to spread their wings, unplug and recharge?
Check out Little Rock Family's extensive summer camp guide, including sports camps, outdoor camps, enrichments camps, technology camps and more.
Collin Sparks is the Executive Director of Kamp Ministries at Kanakuk Kamps and Director of K-Kountry in the summer. Collin grew up going to Kanakuk as a Kamper from Texas, worked on summer staff through college at TCU, and even met his wife, Rachel, at Kanakuk. Collin is passionate about investing and equipping the next generation to reach the world for Christ.