Children who spend time at camp each summer show self-confidence, resilience and independence out in the “real world”. Within the camp environment, children are willing to take risks, which is what leads to them developing these critical skills.
Why/how does this happen?
- Camp creates an environment where children feel safe, loved and supported.
- We switch from “Try this, do that!” to “Let’s all try this together!”
- Positive peer pressure under the supervision of well-trained staff = children trying new things without even thinking about it.
- We provide language for a child to say, “I’m not comfortable with or ready for that yet.”
- Our staff models this language and the empathy that must be shown when someone chooses to sit out for any reason.
- We congratulate those who accomplish their goals AND those who show resilience in trying to reach a goal, even if they haven’t quite gotten there yet.
- In other environments children have often decided the answer is NO before they hear the question.
- At camp they are excited to have new opportunities presented from different voices.
- Children observe other children overcome fears right before their eyes and see that this transformation is possible.
- Camp is focused on the social, emotional & physical growth of a child; this is what we care about above all.
- Camp provides intentional but also natural opportunities for children to practice and build these skills.
What does it look like in the “real world”?
- A child volunteers to play goalie or speaks up to say they DON’T want to be goalie when asked, instead of just agreeing to avoid conflict.
- A child who is usually very quiet in class decides to run for a student government position.
- A child who wouldn’t go near the pool before summer began is at grandma’s house pulling their parent’s hand towards the pool so they can be the first one in.
- A child visits an amusement park and surprises their parent by being comfortable trying a scary ride.
- A child who used to shy away from character appearances at parties/theme parks now runs to the character to give a high five or is at least willing to stay in the same room as the character.
- A child comes home from the first day of school talking about making friends for the first time on the first day.
- A child enters a “drop off” birthday party or event with no hesitation for the first time.
What have you seen your child do out in the “real world”?
These are just a few of the examples reported back to camp leadership from year to year. What has your child done out in the “real world” that was influenced by building self confidence, independence and resilience at camp?