Undoubtedly, the biggest benefits to camp are friends, fun and memories! However, in addition to dress-up days and water fun, sports, dance, science and play, when we send our children to camp, they also benefit from the opportunity to develop and practice important life skills.
Camp offers one of the most powerful learning environments—a place where deep social and emotional education takes place. As they experience adventures, our children try new activities and manage choices and decisions in safe environments. They are communicating with each other and with multiple adults (counselors) in supportive environments without the pressure of grades or measures. They work together as a team and as part of the camp community.
Camp prioritizes play
Free from the highly structured and scheduled routines of home and school, life at camp gives kids much needed free time to just play.
Play requires kids to learn and practice coping and negotiation skills, manage stress, and respond in emotionally appropriate ways. Play allows kids to create, innovate, brainstorm and to work outside of structure, where they experiment and self-initiate.
Camp allows kids to unplug
When kids “unplug,” take a break from television and digital play, they learn how to engage in the real world, how to develop strategies to busy themselves and interact. Unplugged play is critical; it allows kids to practice socialization skills—skills they will need to be successful at school, at home, and work.
Camp is action
As children spend so much time these days inside and frequently sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move. Running, swimming, jumping, and dancing are a part of every day.
Camp promotes independence
Even if you think your kids are independent, nothing brings out and tests that independence more than giving them time away from you, on their own.
Camp allows for a chance for children to truly understand the thought that goes into making a good decisions, and they will discover even more about themselves in the process.
Whether for a day or an entire summer, separation from one’s parents means a camper has to learn to rely on themself and other trusted adults and peers. Time away from parents provides an excellent opportunity for young children to take initiative, exercise their autonomy and develop problem-solving skills—all of which build self-esteem.
Camp makes friends and memories
Camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together—singing, laughing, talking, playing, and doing almost everything together. In addition, camp is an easy entry point into a lifelong Jewish community. As kids grow, opportunities increase to connect with Jewish peers through congregational and national youth groups, Israel travel, social justice programs, and much more. Many kids first Jewish memories start at camp. encouraged to grow every day. Every day is a day of friends and memories.
AUDREA MARTIN HAS WORKED WITH CHILDREN IN THE JCC FIELD FOR OVER 20 YEARS, SHE IS THE DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN AND CAMP AT THE MERAGE JCC. CONTACT AUDRA AT AUDRAM@JCCOC.ORG.