There are so many kinds of summer camps out there to choose from. Some follow the traditional sense of the word “camp” by promoting activities such as boating safety, proper technique and swimming. Some focus on the fine arts, such as painting, music or dance. And some are athletic skills-driven, such as football, soccer or baseball.
With that in mind, one might think that the benefits of summer camp might be dramatically different depending on the focus of a particular camper. However, they all have at least two benefits in common: learning a skill and interacting with others.
Janet Lord, marketing director for Denbigh Christian Academy, agrees. “Our summer program offers academic review, arts and crafts, reading, daily Bible time, physical activity and fun activities, including field trips. We are dedicated to the nurturing of each student and hope to ensure they succeed socially, spiritually, physically and academically.”
Janet’s top five benefits of summer camp include the following:
- Field trips—Children go on field trips and experience different activities, sometimes for the first time, contributing to them being a well-rounded child.
- Arts and crafts—Arts and crafts give them the chance to make different creations, and many learn how to do something new that they’ve not done before.
- Physical activity—The children are moving and using their muscles while playing games, basketball or other physical activities. They spend time outside in fresh air and have fun. They are not just sitting around.
- Social interaction—Children get to spend time with their peers and continue to interact with others. They aren’t secluded at home.
- Curriculum review—This keeps what they’ve learned fresh in their minds to help them remain prepared for the next school year. Our summer camp also has daily Bible time to teach them about the life of Christ.
Maggie Comita, who handles registrar and marketing for Triple R Ranch in Chesapeake, believes that summer camp is a great way for kids to experience new things. “Our campers not only are trying new things, they’re in a fun environment where they’re not under any expectations to perform or be tested. They’re learning for the sake of learning and doing it for the first time alongside other kids.”
Maggie’s top five benefits of summer camp:
- Pushes comfort zone boundaries—Kids are encouraged to try new experiences such as climbing a rock wall, doing archery, going canoeing, riding a horse, etc.
- Helps teach a sense of independence—The most time that kids usually spend away from their parents before they come to camp is a one-night sleepover with friends. This is a full week (or in some sessions, a half-week) away from parents and family where they are put in the trust and care of young adults they don’t know, and the kids must grow and find within themselves the courage to be without their parents.
- Gives uninhibited time outdoors and away from screens—We do not allow phones or other devices at camp. We want kids (and staff) to have genuine face-to-face connections and be present in the moment with other campers.
- Provides a fresh environment to make new friends—Many kids are experiencing the same things at camp together for the first time, so it provides a level field of skills and a way to bond with other kids through the experiences.
- Gives new mentors with different experiences—Kids meet new people who are not in their everyday circles who can share life experiences and share in new experiences.
Gloria Dei Lutheran School in Hampton also provides a well-rounded approach to keeping children active and engaged throughout the summer. They provide a faith-based, day school option throughout the summer than includes a variety of on-site activities, field trips and Bible study.