Thank Goodness for Summer Camps!
With the summer months fast approaching, parents across the country are beginning to sign their children up for different camps. The camp experience is recognized by child development professionals as valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.
Here are some other reasons why summer camps are beneficial:
- Camp allows kids to unplug from technology.
Today’s children spend more than 7.5 hours a day engaged with technology. Most summer camps ban technology, allowing children to communicate face-to-face.
- Camp nurtures social skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that free and unstructured play is essential for children to reach social, emotional and cognitive developmental milestones. Traditional summer camps give children plenty of play time.
- Children can reinvent themselves at camp.
Students often attend school with the same peers, which can lead to labeling. Children who attend camps meet a different group of people in a new environment, so can reinvent themselves and be who they truly want to be.
- Camp promotes independence and self-confidence.
Whether for a day or an entire summer, separation from parents gives a child the ability to think independently. Whether working through homesickness or participating in an activity that pushes them outside comfort zones, kids feel a sense of personal pride and self-reliance.
- Camp models healthy living.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity in children has doubled in the last 30 years. Thanks to the many activities camp offers, kids stay busy and physically active.
- Camp eases the summer slide.
With the absence of regular school work during summer break, research finds that children typically lose as much as two months of grade level equivalency in math. To help curb summer learning loss, many specialized camps offer fun and interactive educational opportunities.
Local Kids Max and Avery LOVE Summer Camp
For the past two summers, Max — a ten-year-old from Gulfport — has attended an overnight camp three hours away from home.
“I have become friends with two boys my age that are cousins and live in Louisiana,” Max said. “Our moms always make sure we are in the same cabin together. I love that I have made these two new friends at camp, and look forward to seeing them every summer.”
Max’s mother, Andrea, is also thankful for the strong friendships her son has made at camp, but is even more thankful for the self-confidence he has gained.
“Camp allowed Max to be much more self-sufficient,” she said. “He has told me that I don’t even have to pack for him this summer when he goes to camp. Camp puts him in situations where he must be independent and take care of himself and his belongings.”
11-year-old Avery, from Ocean Springs, enjoys an art camp she attends every summer.
“I love the different projects we make,” she said. “It’s nothing like I do at school.”
Avery’s mom, Tina, said camp serves two purposes.
“The art camp helps me with childcare over the summer while allowing Avery to spend more time working on art, which she loves, and doesn’t get to do a lot of at school.”
With all the different kinds of camps available, there is certain to be one to fit your child’s specific wants and needs.
Ashley Schafer Karcher lives in Ocean Springs with her husband and four children, all of whom are already signed up for various summer camps.