This year, many young children were exclusively at-home with one or more caregivers. Some children connected with a few others in a “pod” set-up that rotated from one family’s home to another. And, then there were some that attended school or daycare, albeit in a “bubble” or “closed cohort” model. Bottom-line: Not much exposure to new faces, diverse personalities, or fresh opportunities to build friendships or to resolve challenges. Camp groups enable children to connect with peers from other towns and other school districts. Camp resets children’s social dynamics and fosters fresh, new relationships; a valuable opportunity and learning experience at any age!
Unlike school, or another playdate at the park, camp offers children a wide array of activities and experiences that they might not have been exposed to before. Maybe your child finds out she loves soccer? Or gardening? Or yoga? By sampling all that camp has to offer, your child may discover a new passion that brings them joy and can be extended beyond the summer with extracurricular activities.
After a year of being largely at home, with parents and siblings often no further than one room away, now is a great time (and camp isa perfect setting) for young children to explore and learn an age-appropriate sense of independence. At camp, while guided by nurturing counselors, children themselves make choices and take-on new responsibilities. From choosing to play in the mud-kitchen rather than go down the slide, to independently unwrapping a cheese stick for the very first time, these are the moments when children are developing their independence and there are so many opportunities for these important moments during camp.
In recent years, the concept and importance of “Emotional Intelligence” has gained widespread acceptance and there is no better place to begin developing this life-skill than at camp. While schools must satisfy particular academic standards, at camp we have magnificent flexibility to focus on interpersonal skills like sharing, taking turns, and demonstrating patience. At camp, a child’s experience is multi-layered; life skills like self-awareness, teamwork, and empathy are built on camp’s fields, art tables, and play spaces.
During the pandemic, closed playgrounds and cancellation of typical extracurricular activities like sports, dance, and gymnastics, led to cooped-up kids! And camp is the perfect outlet for all of that pent up energy. During camp, children engage in activities that involve all kinds of movement and build gross motor skills. Children practice determination, develop confidence, and take pride in accomplishing goals like climbing to the top of the playground or helping their team complete a relay race. We have heard parents say that they know their kids are having a good time at camp when they come home tired and with dirt on their clothes—and we tend to agree. We can’t wait to play outside at camp!
Let’s face it—the past year has been anything but fun and we all need some levity. Camp actively invites campers and counselors to be silly and laugh. Camp is for lightning up with spontaneous dance parties, bubbles, making funny faces, and sharing jokes! Having made it through a year without birthday parties, vacations, and more, this is the summer to find a camp program you are comfortable with and to reacquaint your child with fun!
Many parents have spent the entirety of the past year in close reach of their children. Stressed about enrolling their children in a school program and unsure about the safety of bringing a babysitter into the home, the parent’s “grown-up” time has faded away. Even activities like grocery shopping no longer provide an hour of grown-up time because it's all delivered or loaded into the car at curb-side now! When parents send their kids to camp, they can have peace of mind that they are doing something positive for their children and for themselves. Self-care is critical; let camp help make it possible for you!
Approaching re-entry to everyday activities is not as simple as it might sound. There is separation anxiety for children and for parents! It feels a bit like first steps on a new planet—our footing feels unsteady and there are different gravitational pulls. But, camp can be your oasis in this landscape. Camps often offer flexible schedules with various sessions and half-day options. Want to try out the “new normal” and see how it feels—start with camp!
No screens. Really, no screens.
We have all been through a tough year, privately and in our homes, experiencing the challenges of life during a global pandemic. While “in it together” is often said, the isolation imposed by the pandemic sometimes makes “together” hard to believe. But “together” through camp is easy to imagine. Camp offers a shared experience for children and their families to collectively re-engage. With this shared experience, we can better understand and support one another—in current times and beyond. Camp families have opportunities to connect during the summer and throughout the year; camp has a lasting impact for everyone.