Camp has become a part of the fabric of America — conjuring special memories of hiking, swimming, friendships, and adventure for generations. When children go to camp, they’ll likely come home gushing about the lifelong friends they’ve made, and the exciting adventures they had. What they probably won’t tell you about are the life lessons camp has given them — those skills that, if nurtured at home after camp, translate into a lasting self-confidence, an awareness of the importance of kindness, and a greater comfort in voicing their opinions.
For more than 150 years, camp has been changing lives — allowing all children to feel successful, especially those who may struggle with traditional educational settings. Camp is full of fun and excitement, but it is so much more — developing children who are better equipped to lead in the twenty-first century with skills such as independence, empathy, the ability to work as part of a team, and a broader world view.
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- Camp is a safe and nurturing environment that enhances social skills. Camp is for everyone, so children and youth have the opportunity to meet and interact with peers from outside their school environment.
- Camp supplements traditional education. Camps use intentional programming to create a balance of experiential learning opportunities that are physical, emotional, and social.
- Camp provides experiences that promote self-confidence and future academic growth. American Camp Association® (ACA) independent research shows that parents and camp staff, as well as the campers themselves, report significant growth in several areas, including leadership, independence, social comfort, and values and decisions.
- Camp encourages a respect and love of nature. Children are able to learn about the natural world. Camp also gives them a chance to “unplug.” More and more experts are advocating the value of time spent in nature for children — and camp is a perfect place to do that.
- Camp provides the opportunity to stay physically active. Camp is the ultimate outdoor experience with programs that offer physical activities and sports that enhance health and teach self-confidence.
Camp is a natural extension of the classroom. Research indicates that by participating in strategically planned, structured summer experiences, children reduce summer learning loss. Camp challenges children, keeps them engaged, develops creativity and their talents, and expands their horizons.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Camp Association. ©2015 American Camping Association, Inc.
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