The Benefits of Summer Camp
It’s been years, but I still remember the excitement I felt on the first day of piano camp. Homeschooled, I was certain that by spending an entire week living and breathing with my peers, I would discover the mystery of how other people acted. Cafeteria was a crazy adventure. Late night games in the hallways? Brilliant. Piano lessons with master teachers? Scary, awesome. I soaked it all in, every moment of it, and the microcosm of fellow piano students was an entirely new experience to me. That’s when I learned of Dostoevsky, and when the world of Russian literature opened up to me. That’s when, believe it or not, I first heard the word “fart.” That’s when I formed friendships that widened my narrow mindset, challenged me mentally and emotionally and puzzled me with others’ differences from me. That summer camp is still one of the brightest memories of my teen years.
Are you pondering sending your children to summer camp? While there are always drawbacks, I’ll be focusing on the advantages of summer camps for kids in this article. My daughter is far too young to go to one now, but I look forward to someday matching her with the perfect program to let her grow, experience and prosper.
Meeting New People
Now, if your children aren’t homeschooled, they’re probably not as isolated as I was growing up. But they still see the same kids day in and day out at school. Going to summer camps gives your children the chance to meet people of the same age who might be similar or vastly different from them. We all can use more practice in open-mindedness, and meeting other children from outside their social circle can help your kids appreciate diversity.
Schools are busy universes, with stars, planets and outer space all of their own, but summer camps are a unique kind of microcosm that intensify every experience due to the short span and in-depth nature of each activity. It’s a great place for your children to learn and practice social skills such as communication, project sharing, appreciation of others and sharing.
Summers can be desperately boring. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with enough activities for your kids to stay engaged. Summer camps have the advantage of offering concentrated, pointed activities for your children in their areas of interest. They can break up the sunny monotony quite well.
Whether you find a music, games, church, math, science or nature camp—or any other kind of camp—if you can match your child’s interests to the offerings, the excellent people at the camp will offer unique opportunities for your child to explore his or her own gifting and interests.
It was at piano camp that I learned the essentials of stage presence (act like you’re confident, act like you’re having fun), which have seen me through countless performances, speaking engagements and school presentations with poise. I still remember the wry, pointed, funny lecture by my slight, black-haired instructor. Less than 5 feet tall, she filled the auditorium with power as she spoke about performing and then ordered us all up on stage in an ambling, embarrassed line to practice bowing.
There are many other things to learn! Summer camps are an excellent way to keep your children’s minds engaged through the school-less summer. It’s a great way to let them learn the basics or refine their knowledge of any subject, a perfect place to begin equipping them and helping them find out what it is they want to do with life.
In conclusion, summer camps can be extremely advantageous to children. While yours might not be as secluded as I was, they can still benefit from making new friends, having wild adventures and learning new skills.
Emily McIntyre is making up or her sheltered upbringing by travelling, talking, and tasting her way through life. When not writing, she works as a barista, reads voraciously, and spends time with her dear husband and curly-haired toddler.