Summer Camp: Not Just S’Mores and Archery

When I say summer camp, what springs to mind?  Campers and staff gathered around a fire, swimming in a lake, or doing arts & crafts?  Or perhaps your image is formed by Tripper, perhaps the most famous camp counselor of all time?  While campfires, activities, and general hilarity certainly have their place in summer camp, research shows that the summer camp experience gives kids so much more.

According to research conducted by the American Camp Association, surveying more than 5,000 campers and their parents, summer camps can help children grow in areas of positive identity, social skills, and positive values. I’ve written previously how I believe it is important to provide young people with the opportunity to raise self esteem through authentic achievement dealing with challenges. The research indicates that the unique environment provided by camps (both residential and day programs) correlates directly to positive outcomes for youth who attended.

These findings are reinforced anecdotally in our own parent surveys at Abnaki: 

“He learns a lot at camp, particularly respect and care for others.  He arrives home relaxed, talkative, really wanting to spend time with family doing things.”

“He references the motto ‘help the other fellow’ regularly and we can see how the values of camp have had a positive influence on his life.”

“Generally, he felt a great sense of well being (based on what he says and how he acted afterwards).”

“He seemed to come back more mature and more socially responsible which is great.”  

I believe we have something special with our program at Camp Abnaki, and I’m sure camp directors throughout the country feel the same about their program.  The work done by ACA indicates that this is most definitely the case.   Are you looking for ways to help your child feel more confident, have the social skills to make more/better friends, and make better decisions?  Send him or her to camp.

Jeremy Plane, Assistant Camp Abnaki Director

Comments are closed.