Why Summer Camp is More Important Than Ever This Year

After a year of remote learning and limited social contact, summer camp this year can help prepare children for a ‘return to normalcy’.

When was the last time your child made a new friend, or tried new activity? Some of them maybe did in the past month or two since the covid-19 vaccination and when things finally got back to normal, but the past year was difficult for our kids. That is why this period of time has to be full of fun activities and social events, and summer camps are the perfect way to provide your child with both!

5 Reasons Why Camp is Important After a Year of Remote Learning

Camp provides opportunities for kids to interact with new peers.

Opportunities to interact with new people have been scarce this past year. Camp will be most children’s first opportunity to be around new and different people for the first time in so long. Children will be expected to have “normal interactions” with each other when they are back together, and many will not have had the skills or practice to do so.

At camp, each child is placed in a group with a number of children who they may have never met. Staff members are trained to play ice breaker games and have conversations that create comfort right from the start. It is important that the child feels welcome and is not overwhelmed. These strategies are typically repeated each time a group attends a new activity with staff they haven’t met yet. Campers will carry these skills with them into the new school year or other new social situations.

Camp provides kids with teachable moments and the environment to explore them.

Spontaneous or “teachable moments” don’t often arise in quarantine. Besides being surrounded with the same familiar people for so long, children have also stuck with familiar activities and entertainment to keep themselves occupied. They are participating in activities that provide a comfortable feeling in a time of uncertainty. They are purposely not put on the spot or made to feel any more uncomfortable than they already are.

At camp, staff are encouraged to change or enhance activities and curriculum based on the curiosity and interests of the campers.

Camp provides opportunities for kids to experience and express emotions appropriately around others.

When attending summer camp, children encounter new activities filled with challenges they have never faced. They must work with peers to overcome an obstacle or solve a problem. They must also use their skills creatively to win games and competitions. At times they have to accept results of a game or contest that may be unfavorable and out of their control. Camp provides a place where children can learn how to handle all these emotions in a healthy and mature way.

They each will have an opportunity to succeed or fail in something different, and experience the emotions that come with succeeding or failing. Kids can then draw on these experiences throughout life and, more specifically, in the fall at school and new activities.

“The development that occurs through camp experiences—including the social-emotional learning environment that camps foster, the myriad of opportunities for physical exercise and growth, and, perhaps most importantly in our current world, the break from screens and technology—is essential,” according to the New York State Camp Directors Association.

In fact, children are likely to take risks, experience challenges, and learn how to succeed inside a camp environment where they feel loved, safe, and confident. This will make the fall exponentially more manageable, in the same way that experienced overnight campers adjust more quickly when entering college dorms as freshman. They will have real experiences to draw on when new people and environments present themselves.

Continuing education in the summer

Learning is more than textbooks and tests. Fun meets education in the classrooms of camp. Camp is the kind of place where children can learn life skills such as teamwork, and apply the lessons they learned during the school year in many enjoyable activities. They’re getting instant and immediate feedback, so if they do something well, they’ll get feedback.

The best part about camp? Kids will be too busy having fun, they won’t even notice they’re learning.

Developing resiliency and confidence

Camp does a really good job of teaching kids it’s okay to fail. It helps them recognize their limitations and look for ways to improve so they can do better the next time. By allowing children to take risks and face challenges, camp helps children build their independence, resiliency, and self-esteem in a safe, supervised and supportive environment. These invaluable life skills often translate into improvements at home and at school. This leads to increased self- confidence and, in many cases, an improved school experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to give your children a head-start this summer. It’s time for new friends, new activities, and new experiences. Are you ready for summer 2021? Check out Futurelink’s Summer Camps!

Sources used: https://www.nymetroparents.com/article/importance-of-summer-camp-after-remote-learning

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