– Written By Kim Graydon, Associate Director Development at Glen Bernard Camp
Well known benefits of attending summer camp are fun, adventure, making friends, learning to canoe or skippering a sailboat. But does attending a summer camp develop life skills such as emotional intelligence, social integration and citizenship, self-confidence and personal development, all of which are required to succeed in the 21st century? Research conducted by the University of Waterloo in 2007, found that both male and female participating campers indeed experienced “significant positive changes in their behaviour, attitudes and values resulting in overall positive change in interpersonal and personal development”. The study found, as campers mature, the changes in their development is greater suggesting our kids should spend as many summers at camp as possible.
Camp has the unique ability to provide an environment where children, from all backgrounds, can learn a skill set that often, cannot be taught at home or in school. As a past camper, I know camp is a magical experience. As a parent, I now have the wisdom to fully understand the skills one learns at camp can lead us to successful careers and fulfilling relationships. Leadership, teamwork, independence, inspiration, responsibility, nurturing our creativity, development of grit and growth of communication skills are intentionally woven into camp programs. Campers soak up these skills which benefit them throughout the school year but it is the fun and adventure that leaves them longing for the next summer!
As a mother of three campers (girls – 15 & 12, boy – 9), I know the greatest gift I can provide my children is not something material, but a safe place, where they can learn to spread their wings and discover who they really are. It is exciting to see them step off the bus at the end of a camp session and marvel at how they look years older than when they left. As parents, we know the impact summer camp has on our children from a learning experience as outlined above, but the best part is the first thing our kids will say upon the return home is “that was so much fun”!! Learning and fun combined. I can’t ask for more than that.
For more information on Glen Bernard Camp click here.