The Importance of Summer Camp
For so many young Canadians, spending their Summer holidays at camp has become the "thing to do." A right of passage!
Often it is the case that parents register their kids for camp because that’s what we do when Summer is here! Seldom do we step back and really dig into the importance of what we are giving our children, and even more seldom, do we recognize ourselves as being great parents for making this investment.
Well let me be the first to pat you on the back and tell you that the choice you have made, in sending your child(ren) to camp, is a very important one, and one of the best parenting decisions you will ever make.
Camp can play a crucial role in a child’s development. All camps are different, so you should do your research, but when you find the right one and the fit is there, your child’s confidence and level of independence will soar. Camp just does that.
In a camp setting, campers are able to explore new activities, such as fencing, archery, ceramics, skateboarding, tennis etc., expand their social network (and we all know how important networking can be later in life!), and engage with nature (something that is too quickly becoming a rare experience). In these welcoming and engaging communities a connection to one self and to the natural environment blossoms intrinsically. Growth takes place without anyone seeing it or willing it happen. It comes about from the culture of the Summer camp, the community of camp, that allows children to see themselves as important members with value to add and experiences to be shared.
Just recently in chatting with an old friend about his daughter’s camp experience, he shared with me that she daily came home from camp saying "it was fun." What was fun? He would ask, and she would reply, sincerely, "camp was fun! He was bewildered that his daughter, age 6, could not identify one particular thing about camp that made it fun. Camp, to her, was fun. Period.
I explained to him that his story is familiar, and telling. I see it and hear it everyday at Adventure Valley. What his daughter was telling him is that she was being given the opportunity to explore freely and safely her environment, connect with people in a way she cannot do when inside the four concrete walls of a classroom, and test her skills and fears knowing she would be supported. She also had the opportunity to run and play in open fields, with energetic and caring teenagers who loved running and being fun and crazy beside her. Yeah, that is fun! And these moments are what help our children define themselves, build their character, grow intellectually, and learn from themselves and those around them. So go ahead, pat yourself on your back, and know that you are making an investment in your child each week you send them off to a great camp!
About the Author: Robyn Hochglaube is the owner and director of Adventure Valley Day Camp in Thornhill, along with her husband Kevin Gandy. They have been involved in summer camp for over 15 years. This family run camp focuses on building each child’s confidence, social skills, and self esteem. As a boutique Summer day camp, Adventure Valley has the unique opportunity to know each camper and ensure a memorable and successful Summer camp experience for all. A tight camp community, parent involvement is welcome and encouraged. For more information about Adventure Valley please visit their website at www.adventurevalley.ca.