The Case For Summer Camp

Camp in Colorado? Sign me up!

Camp in Colorado? Sign me up!

As a kid, my favorite part of summertime was overnight camp.  In fact, some of my very favorite memories come from my weeks spent on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay at a sailing camp.

Now as a parent, I want my kids to have their own wonderful camp experiences.  Why? Because a lot can be learned from spending a few nights away from home.  Being a camper can teach kids a lot:

Let the fun begin!

Let the fun begin!

How to navigate social situations on their own.  Admit it, most of us can be helicopter parents at times – even thought we know it’s not in the best interest of our kids.  At camp, kids are able to make friends and social decisions on their own, out from the watchful eye of mom and dad.  Doing this, and being successful encourages self-esteem and confidence.  What could be better?

How to have fun without technology and social media.  It’s hard for all of us to put down our phones and tablets – and no one struggles more than kids.  They’ve never known life without them! Summer camp is the perfect time to learn that a million awesome things can happen without electronics (hiking, swimming, canoeing, kickball, crafts).  What’s more, they’re still awesome even if they aren’t shared on Instagram!

How to move past your comfort zone.  Whether it’s taking on the high ropes course, eating freshly caught fish, sleeping under the stars, or making friends with someone from a different culture or background, summer camp is chock full of opportunities to stretch and challenge kids in ways they never are at home.

It’s also important to note that summer camp holds some important lessons for parents, too.  Namely, how to start letting go of our precious babes.  I have to admit that it was harder to say goodbye to my kids when I dropped them off at camp than I thought it would be.  I’m making it through, but definitely counting down the days until I see them again.


Packing for camp with StickerKid

Packing for camp with StickerKid

Check out these cute stickers and labels, perfect for school and camp:

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Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 11.50.16 AM

This post sponsored by StickerKid.


Ready Campers? It’s Time to Improve Your Mental Health

Now doesn't that look like fun? Photo Credit

Now doesn’t that look like fun?
Photo Credit

I loved camp as a kid. Girl Scout camp, YMCA day camp, overnight camp: I did it all and loved (almost) every minute of it. I’m sure my fond memories of being a camper contribute to my enthusiasm for camp as an adult and parent. But it’s when I am wearing my psychologist hat that I am most enthusiastic about the benefits of summer camp for kids:

Learning new (and unusual?) things.  Not all kids thrive in the traditional school environment.  In addition, some don’t find a true passion amongst the classes and clubs offered there.  Summer camps can provide an opportunity for kids to explore a new interest.  Some of the most interesting offerings I’ve seen in my area include show choir camp, Mine Craft camp, and Egyptian history camp. Who knew?

Staying in the groove.  The often-times relaxed schedules of summer can be wonderful, but we don’t want our kids’ brains to waste away too much!  A few hours at a camp helps their minds (and bodies) stay active, and oftentimes makes it easier to transition back to school schedules when fall comes around.

Living outside the cliques.  Even if your kiddo doesn’t struggle with “friend issues,” summer camps can be a great opportunity to interact with kids from other schools, backgrounds, interests and abilities.  This can often be a welcome relief from living in the cliques or groups in which they normally reside.

Practicing social skills.  Learning how to meet people, make friends, and interact in unfamiliar settings are critical life skills. Summer camps can be great, low-risk opportunities to work on these things. Pushing ourselves slightly outside of our comfort zones can very often be a wonderful thing!

Want to sign your child up for camp but feel worried about how you’ll cope? Check out the American Psychological Association’s article on managing summer camp worries.