Top 5 Life Skills Your Child Will Learn at Camp

At first glance, Summer camp may seem like it’s all fun and games—playing outside with friends, singing songs, and enjoying time off school. But a study supports what camp directors have been saying for decades: camp is a setting for positive youth development where invaluable life skills are acquired and nurtured.

"The major changes in [campers’] growth speaks tremendously of the Summer camp experience," says Troy Glover, the director of the University of Waterloo’s Healthy Communities Research Network.

Glover spearheaded the Canadian Summer Camp Research Project, the first-ever nationwide and international research and evaluation project of its kind. Conducted in the Summer of 2010, the study tracked 1,288 campers, aged three to 18, from 16 overnight and day camps across Canada. The research stage was divided into two parts: one-on-one interviews with camp directors to gather anecdotal evidence, followed by camper surveys to measure behaviours, attitudes, and values.

The results demonstrated that for "bubble-wrapped" youth who have been over-programmed and overprotected, camp provides a safe environment to freely learn, grow, and develop their capabilities. Summer camp, according to the study, fosters emotional intelligence (or EQ), self-confidence, independence, healthy living, environmental awareness, leadership, and other skills that prove beneficial long into adulthood.

Five critical life skills that get a big boost at Summer camp:

1. How to Get Along With Others: Talk to any camp alumni and you’ll likely hear how some of their most meaningful friendships and lessons on how to get along with others came from camp.

2. How to Overcome Challenges: It’s time to unwrap the "bubble-wrapped" generation. Saturated with 24-hour news highlighting crimes in their communities, many parents today are overprotective of their children.

3. How to Get Fit: A recent Statistics Canada study found that only seven per cent of youth aged six to 19 got the recommended hour a day of exercise they need. Enter Summer camp.

4. How to Love the Earth: "Children need nature for the healthy development of their senses, and, therefore, for learning and creativity," says Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child In the Woods.

5. How to Lead: When it comes to developing strong leaders, camp provides both implicit and explicit training.

Learn more about the key benefits of camp, browse and compare 250+ of the best programs and register for the annual Camp Expo in Toronto on February 22nd, 2015 at A great camp is waiting for your child or teen! Free tickets are available online at

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