April 2, 2015
By The Camping and Education Foundation
Photo at right: Campers from Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, enjoy a plunge into the cool water on a hot summer day. Photo courtesy of YMCA and Camp Orkila.
It is no secret that many children spend too much time in front of the computer or television screen today and have little outdoors activity or interest in the natural world around them.
According to research done by Psychology Today, camp makes kids resilient to daily life stresses and helps develop positive character traits in children. To encourage parents to take a more active role in getting their kids interested in and active in the outdoors, The Camping and Education Foundation created a list of reasons why it is beneficial for children to go to camp during the summer.
- To try new things – Camp pushes children out of their comfort zone and exposes them to new activities and experiences that they may not be familiar with. Campers get the opportunity to try out different things and discover new hobbies or passions. By exploring various types of activities, children have a greater chance of finding something that they excel at or that makes them happy.
- Unplug from technology – When kids take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities, and real emotions.
- Grow more independent – Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves. Managing their daily choices in the caring environment of camp, children welcome this freedom to blossom in new directions.
- Reconnect with nature – Camp is a wonderful antidote to “nature deficit disorder,” and to the narrow experience of modern indoor life. Outdoor experience enriches kid’s perception of the world and supports healthy childhood development.
- To build character – On top of making new friends, campers also develop an appreciation for the qualities required to cultivate and strengthen these relationships. Camp provides children with the core values of a strong, moral individual by teaching them about ethics, honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. Parents frequently report that after camp, their children are more kind, understand the importance of giving, are more equipped to stand up for what they know is right, and are willing to be more responsible.
- To learn to live in Community – Camp lets children learn to live in community and do their share of the work. They experience that 80 people contributing a ½ hour towards communal duties means one person is required to spend 40 hours doing what together they can so easily do each and every day.
- To slow down – Camp gives children the chance to slow down and enjoy day after day as part of the natural world. They walk the trails to the camp lodge, to their cabins, to their activities, up and down the ridges, by the waterfront, through the beautiful woods, making the outside their home.
- To fail and be okay with that – Without grades or tryouts, the pressure of succeeding is removed and children can play for play’s sake. They can try something and not worry about the consequences of not doing it perfectly or being the best. Having fun is good enough and trying things is better than standing on the sidelines afraid of failure.
About The Camping and Education Foundation
The Camping and Education Foundation’s mission is to develop young men and women in body and spirit through wilderness experiences that celebrate a love of the outdoors. This mission is as strong today as it was ninety years ago when Camp Kooch-i-ching first opened its doors on Deer Island in Ohio. The Camping and Education Foundation owns and operates both Camp Kooch-i-ching and Ogichi Daa Kwe, two of the premier summer wilderness camps in North America. For more information, visit: www.campingedu.org