While summer camp is a time for kids to have fun away from the pressures and responsibilities of home and school, it’s not all about making s’mores and sleeping under the stars. Camps teach resilience, independence, and problem-solving skills that benefit kids during their camp years and beyond.
Trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone often results in ups and downs, allowing kids to learn how to deal with setbacks. Whether it’s learning to work as a team, maneuvering a capsized canoe, or dealing with homesickness, camp teaches kids to be resilient when faced with difficult situations such as the following:
Facing adversity: Many kids face challenges they’ve never experienced before at camp, teaching them to find comfort in uncomfortable situations.
Embracing failure: Nobody’s perfect, and failing is a part of life. No one hits the bullseye during archery or starts a fire on the very first try, allowing kids to get into the habit of falling down and getting right back up to try again.
Developing coping strategies: When kids are at camp, they’re away from the comforts — and expertise — of their closest family and friends. Because of this, they can develop skills in perseverance, adaptability, and teamwork.
Kids spend a lot of their life around their parents or other adult figures like guardians or teachers, meaning they likely have little opportunity to branch out on their own. Camp allows for this in a safe and supportive environment with some of the following examples:
Decision-making skills: Whether it’s choosing what they want to have for dinner from the camp buffet or signing up for activities, kids have a lot of decisions to make at camp.
Self-care: Without their parents around to remind them, kids have the freedom — and the responsibility — to maintain proper personal hygiene, keep a clean cabin or tent, and ensure they’re ready to go each day.
Teamwork: Camp is all about independence when it comes to kids being away from home. However, it’s also about teamwork, whether it’s ensuring their bunkmates all pitch in to pass their cabin inspection or their larger unit working together to finish an activity or win a game.
Improving Problem-Solving Skills
Challenges big and small are bound to come up while kids are away at camp, giving them the perfect opportunity to improve their problem-solving skills — and learn from any mistakes — such as the following:
- Critical thinking: So many camp activities involve this crucial skill, whether they’re out on a hike or are strategizing a way to win a game.
- Communication: With lots of kids living all in one place during the camp session, the opportunities to practice communication skills are everywhere! Kids work through conflicts, collaborate on projects or activities, and learn to express their ideas and feelings during this time.
- Resourcefulness: The great outdoors is the perfect place for kids to learn more about being resourceful because their may not have all the convenience or resources they’re used to at home. Whether it’s making arts and crafts with found objects around camp or building a shelter during an overnight camping trip, kids will learn to think outside the box.
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Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.