Years ago, summer camp was all about canoeing, cabin life, and trying to find a way to get out cleaning the bathrooms. These days, students at the best private schools are increasingly spending their summers getting ahead and learning important life skills that will prepare them for their studies and for their future life. The best private schools are increasingly offering summer camp and study opportunities to help students get ahead. Here\’s how summer camp might be able to help your student, whether or not the emphasis is on academics.
- Summer camp experiences are psychologically beneficial. Psychologists laud the summer camp as a great way for children to engage in creative expression, participate in a community environment in a more intimate way, and satisfy their need for physical activity all at the same time.
- At camp, kids learn how to work in a team. While there are opportunities for teamwork during the school year, it\’s during summer camp that kids really learn how to work with others on long-term projects and challenges. At camp that they will see firsthand how relationships need investment and how important it is to work with others and empower the individual so that the group can benefit.
- Kids learn how to make decisions at camp. Camp is a great place for kids to safely experience making a decision and living with the consequences. During the school year, most of a child\’s decisions are made for them. The days at school are regimented, homework requirements are inflexible, and homes have to have schedules, rules, and boundaries in order to get through the day. At camp, kids have a chance to flex their independence muscles. Even though some of the consequences for their decisions may be unpleasant, there is great value in learning early that actions, attitudes, and choices have consequences, both good and bad.
- At camp, kids get use to trying new things. The rest of the year, life can be pretty routine. At summer camp, children have to put themselves out there and make decisions. They may be challenged with a new form of learning. They may have to figure out how to live in the cabin and cook food. They may have to learn how to work in a team to overcome obstacles. They may take up a new activity just to be with their friends, and in doing so build character and courage. When children are only willing to do things if they\’re comfortable, they become inflexible and fearful. The presence of unfamiliar situations and challenges at summer camp can go a long way towards helping children overcome these attitudes.
- Summer camp helps kids learn resilience. Without mom and dad to lean on, kids have to do things themselves. Many of the activities that will take place at summer camp are team-building exercises and in them children face the reality that not only might their failure affect them, but their failure could affect everyone on the team. This gives them the inspiration and motivation they need to get up and try again. This does wonders for a child\’s self-confidence and sense of empowerment.
- Summer camp can help children prepare for kindergarten, private preschool, or other private school studies. Many camps have an emphasis on helping children prepare for the school year ahead in a fun and engaging way. Many private schools offer their own summer camps so that children can get a feel for the school and its environment and culture. If your child is about to start a new school, sending them to a summer camp run by that school can be a great way to help give them a leg up.
Whatever type of summer camp you choose, there will be a lot of benefits for your child in the experience. Some camps will challenge them more physically, some will challenge them more mentally, but all will help them grow up.