The real value of overnight summer camp is so much more than the typical images of smiling campers in canoes or shooting archery, campfires with s’mores and guitars, faces painted for color wars, etc.
Of course these kinds of images make the front page of the brochures and promotional literature in an effort to entice future campers with all the fun they will have.
What parents should understand is that these visuals of fun only scratch the surface of the real value of overnight camp.
Here are five ways to help understand the real value of overnight summer camp:
- Reconnect with nature
- Gain independence and self esteem
- Growth of social skills
- Importance of role models
- “Fun for Now, Skills for Life”
Example #1 – Reconnecting with Nature as the Real Value of Overnight Summer Camp
A growing number of studies and authors like Richard Louv have documented the lack of outside play with our young people and the disconnection with nature.
How much cooler is it to hold a frog in your hand rather than see one on a computer screen? Do we really need to explain the difference?
Overnight camp is where you actually become part of nature and begin to understand our relationship with the world around us.
Away from the electronics and imagined fantasy play, camp is the real world where you can use all your senses to enrich your experience.
Example #2 – Gain of Independence and Self-Esteem as the Real Value of Overnight Summer Camp
Conquering the apprehension of being away from home is the first step to independence.
Consider the increase in self esteem that comes from hitting the target in archery for the first time, completing your mile swim or earning an award in canoeing, especially when you’re doing these things for the first time!
These kinds of things happen at overnight camp every day.
Example#3 – Growth of social Skills as the Real Value of Overnight Summer Camp
At overnight camp you learn how to meet people for the first time and make friends. You learn how to deal with someone you might not like.
You learn to speak with people face to face instead of a keyboard.
The ability to work as a team, to be part of something greater than yourself and learning to become a leader are all things that happen in a camp environment where people care about the results and work hard to make these things happen for all campers.
Example #4 – Importance of Role Models as the Real Value of Overnight Summer Camp
The young adults who serve as camp counselors are outstanding role models for your child to emulate.
A good overnight camp reflects your values as parents and gives campers the opportunity to find fun in ways that don’t have to be on the edge of acceptability. Camp counselors are “cool” in responsible ways.
Example #5 – “Fun for Now, Skills for Life” as the Real Value of Overnight Summer Camp
“Fun for Now, Skills for Life” happens to be part of Falcon Camp’s logo, but it truly is the essence of what the real value of overnight camp is all about.
Campers have fun in so many things, which is why they want to be there, but they also are learning lifetime skills to use when they return back home.
Whether the skills campers learn are activity based or socially based, camp helps young people fill in the gaps of growing throughout their lives beyond what school and home can offer.
These are but a chosen few examples of the real value of overnight summer camp.
While every family has to make their own diligent search for their own situation, these examples of the real value of overnight summer camp hold true in any good camp.
An overnight summer camp experience is a tremendous value for all young people.
Dave Devey, Director of Falcon Camp
Dave has been the director and owner of Falcon Camp in Carrollton, Ohio since 1984. His wealth of experience and knowledge of the responsible growth of young people has led to his recognition as an expert in the world of summer camps.
He frequently contributes to camp articles in a variety of family publications and mentors young camp directors across the country.
Dave has served on the Ohio Council of Leaders for the American Camp Association for the past 15 years and is currently the legislative chair.