The personal learning network for educators
Most families do not understand the concept of youth summer camps. A noted educator, author and psychologist, Dr. Scales says, "Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don't satisfy all these needs."
Summer camps for kids and teens have been in existence for over a century and have evolved. They provide a culturally diverse learning environment where kids and teens develop and increase knowledge on both a personal and social level in a natural setting.
The question, why take your kids to camp is easily answered. Learning about your world, your community and yourself through experience is the main reason why youth summer camps have been found to be more beneficial in childhood development than the traditional school setting. Activities take place in a structured environment that stimulates children's natural curiosity making learning fun and interactive.
Camps promote successful and healthy development in a relaxed environment where interaction with positive role models who have time to talk and listen is part of the criteria.
Each camp is unique and changes every summer as a new community is created. A sense of community is the beginning of the growth of self-esteem. This allows children to look beyond themselves and learn pro social behavior which contributes to the making of a better citizen.
Summer camps also provide children with a way to get out of a home or neighborhood situation which may not be ideal and teaches them the basics of getting along with others while providing a safe place to learn and grow. The fundamental skills taught and encouraged in summer camps are:
When children are limited to urban environments, classroom settings and sometimes toxic environments, it suppresses their natural curiosity. This curiosity is vital for learning to take place. The natural settings that summer camps for kids and teens offers provide stimulation to this curious nature. Students have shown significant gains in self-esteem, problem solving skills, relationships with others- both peers and elders and motivation to learn when an environment is fun and engaging. This in turn has led to higher academic scores.
All camps have children living and working together, sharing responsibility and resources while achieving goals. This has been found to have the ability to transform cautious and shy children into positive and self-assured individuals within a relatively short time frame. They develop strong social skills, confidence and independence among their peers which translates to their everyday life empowering them to become better and more caring citizens.
Communication is an important skill for everyone to learn. Language is not limited to just the spoken and written word but also incorporates gestures, body language and facial expressions. While schools offer the basic building blocks of developing language, it is a well-known fact that the only way to truly learn language is by immersion into its cultures and practices. Social and cultural aspects are best learnt through experience. Children have been found to understand language more effectively when it is combined with visual stimulation. This helps children build strong lasting friendships and socialization skills which are both necessary steps in the path to a healthy and productive life.
Whatever the age of your child, summer camps offer a nurturing environment where resilience, self-esteem, life skills and pro social behavior is developed. Away from the distractions of the city and in a natural setting, the need for physical activity is also satisfied in these settings therefore promoting wholesome positive growth to your children in a safe environment.