Why Kids Need Camp Role Models

Posted: July 21, 2013

One of the greatest treasures of a camp experience is the bond formed between campers and their counselors. Not only do campers receive a bounty of fun times and memories with their favorite counselor, but they also take steps on a developmental path that leads to a healthy, happy future. 

Positive Self-Esteem
Research from school psychologist and adolescent counselor Stephen Wallace, MS Ed, shows the importance of role model and mentor relationships:

  • 46 percent of teens with a mentor reported a high "sense of self," versus 25 percent of teens without a mentor. 

Please note that the image above is best viewed on Chrome/Firefox.

Learning from Experience
According to author and psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, in his New York Times online article, “Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents”:

  • Children love to learn but get tired of being taught by adults.
  • Children want to learn from older children —older campers, C.I.T.’s (counselors in training) and camp counselors.
  • In our age-segregated society, camp is the only place in America where kids can really do this.

Comfort Relying on Other Adults
Author and psychologist Madeline Levine, PhD, says:

  • At camp, kids learn the value of relying on adults other than their parents.
  • Having “go-to” people out in the world can broaden a child’s horizons.
  • Kids who are capable of relying on other adults find success when away from home — for example, going to college.
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