Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Camp
Anyone who has experienced summer camp knows that camp memories last long after school is back in session. From the deep friendships formed over late night storytelling, to sunny days spent on the water, camp helps turn fleeting moments to lifelong memories that children will cherish for years to come.
Parents know that after a summer away from home, kids bring home more than just camp stories. These days away from mom and dad also instill important values and skills that children can apply in daily life beyond camp.
As a former counselor and current director at Kanakuk Kamps, I have witnessed firsthand the life change that takes place in a child’s heart while away at camp. Camp encourages responsibilities and healthy mindsets that easily translate back home to chores around the house, performing well in the classroom and giving one’s best on the athletic field.
Lessons Applied at Home
During the summer, campers frequently have the opportunity to pitch in and help with various "chores" during their stay. From lending a hand in the kitchen to tidying common areas and ensuring cabin cleanliness, these responsibilities create a mentality of joyful service and instill the belief that it feels good to help others.
After camp, many parents find that their kids are more eager to help around the house with everyday chores, or more apt to go out of their way to support a sibling. Through small, daily practices at camp, kids develop lasting habits that transcend the summer and impact the way they view their role at home.
Lessons Applied at School
In a classroom setting, it is easy for kids to slip into the trap of comparison or be discouraged by a bad grade or GPA. At camp, we remind campers that giving your best at school is important, but we also encourage campers with the truth that they are not defined by their academic performance.
This freedom allows kids to view school through a lens of their own unique potential rather than a lens of comparison to others, which pushes them to perform well for themselves rather than for others. Instead of associating school with fear or timidity, campers learn to develop confidence at camp that they carry into the classroom.
Lessons Applied on the Field
At Kanakuk, we offer a wide array of sports and activities that allow campers to sharpen certain athletic skills and try new experiences, too. As counselors, we do not encourage perfection in any activity; instead, we use these activities to encourage effort, enthusiasm, teamwork and sportsmanship.
The “we over me” mentality is one they take back to their local sports teams that helps them distinguish their value from that of the scoreboard, while also using their skills and gifts to facilitate teamwork and support their peers.
As summer approaches, so does the fun that comes with the season. As parents, keep an eye out for intentional ways to encourage your children as they head off to camp, and know that they’ll bring home more than memories. The ideals and habits fostered at camp will last a lifetime.
Jake Talbert serves as the Assistant Director at K-Kountry. He worked as a summer staff during his time in college and graduated from Baylor University in 2016 with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Accounting. Jake enjoys working with people and is passionate about spreading the love of Christ and helping people to experience the true joy that only Jesus can give.