Summer Camp ~ The Ultimate Score!

I personally can not say enough about summer camp.  My eldest is 11 1/2 and my husband and I have never had even one weekend away without our children.  Unlike many of our friends, we just don’t have the support to be able to get away.  We certainly have friends that have taken both kids for one night once or twice per year, and for that we are very thankful, but we have never had the opportunity for the two of us to get away for a few days, let alone a week.  Fortunately, we came up with an awesome solution last summer.  For the first time ever, both of our children attended a 5 night summer bible camp.  Yahoo!  Unfortunately, when you have 10 1/2 years of virtually no time without kids, you really don’t know where to start.  Last year, my husband took holidays while the kids were away at summer camp, and we literally worked around the clock trying to get as many projects done around the house as possible, without interruption or concern we might be deemed neglectful parents.  This year, my husband is working for the first 3 days and my goal is that we’ll have a bit more fun than last year.  We’ll try to squeeze in at least one date (if not two) and just enjoy some real quality time, in amongst my lengthy list of “to do’s”.

Top 10 Reasons to Send Your Kids to Summer Camp

10. I can write my blog without negotiating my computer time with my 9 year old!

9.  I can cook what I want, when I want without any complaining ~ or maybe not cook at all!

8. I can have a clean house for a whole week and not have to pick-up after anyone but me!

7. There will only be dirty clothes in the laundry basket this week!  (My daughter’s idea of cleaning up is throwing everything in the laundry basket regardless of whether it has been worn or not.)

6. The kids get ample exercise and are totally immersed in nature.

5. I can be about 400% more productive than in a typical summer week ~  “To do” list here I come!!

4.  No sibling fights to referee.

3.  Mom and Dad get to have uninterrupted conversations, dates with no sitters needed and eat at a restaurant of our choice!

2.  The kid’s are immersed in one full week of biblical teaching and age appropriate activities, in a safe and caring environment!

1.  And the #1 Reason to send your kids to summer camp is for a good old dose of Digital Detox ~  5 days without having to monitor content and their time spent on devices ~ they are completely unplugged for 5 days.  Yay!!

Other Benefits of Summer Camp

Summer camp can be a great way for your child to develop self-esteem by being given opportunities to explore new activities and discover new personal interests, gifts and abilities.

It is a great way to help foster independence and develop a stronger sense of responsibility.  The children are expected to care for their belongings and share in the task of keeping their cabin clean as well as doing dishes and other jobs throughout the week.  For some children, being away from home is difficult, but what a great way to build up that confidence and independence, with a group of supportive peers who can relate to what they may be feeling.

In a world that is consumed with technology, summer camp offers a fabulous venue for reinforcing their social skills.  They will have ample opportunity to practise using the manners they’ve been taught at home without a hovering parent to remind them.  Camp also offers a unique platform for bonding with peers and building lifelong friendships. The children will engage in digital-free, real conversations with their counsellors and peers, something so simple, yet so absent amongst many youth today.

Summer camp provides a variety of possibilities for children to engage in active outdoor play, which for many of today’s children is a rarity. There are ample options to explore the outdoors and many exciting adventures to be had.

Being immersed in nature also gives kids a chance to learn about their environment and gain an awareness and respect for the world in which we live.

Summer camp is great fun and leaves a lasting impression on kids.  Last year, our kids talked about their summer camp experience for months.  From pudding fights to drama productions to the songs they learned.  Remember….”laughter doeth good like a medicine.”  Friendships created, laughter shared and memories made, that is really what summer camp is all about!

Some summer camps offer biblical teaching ,as well as reinforcement of good values, citizenship and morals.

Summer Camp as a Combatant to Nature Deficit Disorder

This quote was taken from The Telegraph, a British publication, but I am sure that the stats are much the same in Canada and the United States.

By the age of seven, a child born in Britain today will have spent an entire year (8,766 hours) of their lives looking at TV, computer and game console screens.

This stat is alarming and yet sadly, not surprising.  As an early years teacher, I can say that I have seen first hand the changing trends in our children. I see an increasing number of children entering school with delays in their speech and language skills, limited fine motor skills and difficulties attending during class time.  Summer camp is the perfect method for getting kids outside and away from television, iPods, iPhones, computers, iPads, and video games. It reconnects them with nature and stimulates the concrete building of human relationships.

last child in the woods

In his book, Last Child in the Woods:  Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv, focuses on the negative trends effecting our children and the impact that technology is having on their lives and development.

Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

We can not step back in time and remove technology, we all depend on it in one way or another and it has become vital to our existence in today’s world.  However, as parents and care givers, we need to consciously figure out a way to weave it into life at home, so that the use of technology does not come at the expense of other vital areas of child developement.  We must be diligent in making sure that technology is used as a tool and not a teacher.  Kids must have a balance in their lives with ample time for verbal interaction and conversation, experimenting with writing/drawing tools and time outside.  Playing outside stimulates creativity, problem solving skills and improves general health and fitness.  So get outside and play, go on a family camping trip and send your kids to summer camp!


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