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Why Kids Need Camp Role Models
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.
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.
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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.