Summer camp empowers kids
BY PAUL HAACK Banner Day Camp, camp director
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- Tips for a successful and smooth school day
- Eradicating bullying: Parents, teachers and positive reinforcement preparation
- Stiff competition, help and hope for applying to private primary schools
- Four things your kid will get from summer camp
- Learning healthy values through the camp experience
- Quality camps breed resilient children
When thinking about summer camp, the first thing that should come to mind is fun. However, a great camp is more than just fun and games. Camp also provides a tremendous opportunity for children to begin laying the foundation for a healthy and happy lifestyle, full of self-confidence. These long, cold winter days sometimes make it difficult to focus on the fun that awaits us every summer. Camp does more than just form a bridge between the school years. A summer at camp spent playing, laughing, growing and learning can be the catalyst for a lifetime of happiness and success for your children.
Camp provides a unique opportunity to enjoy and explore a wide variety of physical activities. Traditional sports, such as baseball, football, soccer and basketball, provide campers an engaging opportunity to learn and play. In addition, campers gain exposure to sports and activities that they might otherwise not have experienced, such as pioneering or kayaking. Daily swimming provides campers with both a great workout and a valuable life skill. Playgrounds and creative play areas allow campers to exercise both their bodies as well as their imaginations. This sort of free play is essential to the development of healthy, well-adjusted children. Through increased physical activity, children will build stronger, healthier bodies, which will in turn help set the stage for a healthier and happier adulthood. Camp provides a refreshing opportunity from the structure and rigors of the school year to focus on just playing and the enjoyment that comes with being a child.
The beauty of camp is not just the opportunity to be more active; it is how and where camp allows children to be more active, happy individuals. Too often, suburban sprawl confines us to small, self-contained play areas such as a neighborhood park. Camp empowers children to disconnect from the TV or gaming platform and to reconnect and enjoy the expansive, natural beauty that once surrounded us. A traditional outdoor camp setting imparts a sense of adventure and offers the freedom and opportunity to explore our natural environment. From the simple exploration of a muddy creek bed in search of animal tracks to racing down a zip line through the trees, camp provides an opportunity to unplug from the day to day grind and over-programming that has percolated down to our children. Outdoor experiences like these afford a remarkable opportunity to add a sense of wonder and awe back to play.
Camp offers all this in an environment that encourages and strengthens friendship, team building and the ability to grow while having fun. The spirit of joy and laughter that resonates through a campground, as well as permeates a child’s memory, represents the most fitting tribute to any summer spent at camp. It is no surprise that children frequently attend camp with their friends. What is perhaps more surprising is the number and depth of relationships that children emerge from camp with. Lifelong friendships are forged and cemented at camp every summer. That ability to make new friends represents an enduring skill that will continue to pay dividends through college and beyond. Every summer, campers grow so close to their counselors that the joy of the summer is always punctuated by the realization of how much they will miss their counselor; at least until they will see them back at camp the next year.