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The experience of summer camp, whether it’s a day camp or an overnight camp, is incredibly impactful on a child’s life. It is often their first time away from home without family or friends. For young children, it can be a big step, but it allows them to grow and learn about themselves, while creating life-long memories.
Among the many benefits of summer camp, we’ve compiled a few to show how a camp experience can strengthen your child’s academic and societal skills:
Increased Independence and Social Skills
The summer camp experience gives children a chance to get to know a new community away from home and school. Children learn how to make decisions without their parents or guardians’ assistance at camp. It’s empowering and a great step towards independence. It gives them the chance to work together with new peers as well as adult mentors to manage conflict and build relationships.
Sparks Their Interest for Exploration and Adventure
Kids at summer camp have the opportunity to try many things they wouldn’t be able to do at home or at school. The kids can “try stuff on” to see what they like and what they don’t. There are those who enjoy arts and crafts, while there are others who would never leave the water. There are some who tend to perform/present in front of their peers, and there are others who concentrate on learning a new interpersonal skill such as sailing. A camp experience allows campers to discover specific interests and fine-tune them so that they return home eager to learn and explore more about them.
Helps Them Unplug
Screen time has increased threefold since the pandemic, and only 10% of children spend time outside daily on their own. For children aged 8-12 in North America, the average screen time is between 4-6 hours per day, and for teens, it is up to 9 hours. During summer camp, children can unplug and slow down, focus, and connect. Instead of spending time on social platforms, campers can try new activities, make friends, and connect through shared experiences.
Approximately 1,405 parents surveyed by the Canadian Summer Camp Research Project at the University of Waterloo reported that their children’s self-confidence and personal development had improved after summer camp. The parents described their children as more flexible, resourceful, and self-aware, which made them more capable of coping with life’s challenges. A greater degree of autonomy was demonstrated, more interest in trying new things was expressed, and more self-confidence was displayed when challenges were faced.
At this age, campers have just begun to discover their identities as individuals. Camp encourages children’s interpersonal development in a way that few other experiences can. The camp staff recognizes individual traits within the campers and encourages them to express their unique qualities. We give leaders the chance to lead, thinkers the chance to analyze, and creators the chance to be creative!
Probably most importantly, summer camp brings kids together in an environment that is welcoming, safe, and makes them feel like they belong.
In our role as Canada’s largest camp provider, the YMCA empowers kids to live healthier, happier lives. To learn more about the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka day and overnight summer camps, please visit www.ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca/summer-day-camps/.