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Summer Camps and Childhood Development

Most families do not understand the concept of youth summer camps. A noted educator, author and psychologist, Dr. Scales says, "Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don't satisfy all these needs."

Summer camps for kids and teens have been in existence for over a century and have evolved. They provide a culturally diverse learning environment where kids and teens develop and increase knowledge on both a personal and social level in a natural setting.

The question, why take your kids to camp is easily answered. Learning about your world, your community and yourself through experience is the main reason why youth summer camps have been found to be more beneficial in childhood development than the traditional school setting. Activities take place in a structured environment that stimulates children's natural curiosity making learning fun and interactive.

Camps promote successful and healthy development in a relaxed environment where interaction with positive role models who have time to talk and listen is part of the criteria.

Each camp is unique and changes every summer as a new community is created. A sense of community is the beginning of the growth of self-esteem. This allows children to look beyond themselves and learn pro social behavior which contributes to the making of a better citizen.

Summer camps also provide children with a way to get out of a home or neighborhood situation which may not be ideal and teaches them the basics of getting along with others while providing a safe place to learn and grow. The fundamental skills taught and encouraged in summer camps are:

Inquiry based learning

When children are limited to urban environments, classroom settings and sometimes toxic environments, it suppresses their natural curiosity. This curiosity is vital for learning to take place. The natural settings that summer camps for kids and teens offers provide stimulation to this curious nature. Students have shown significant gains in self-esteem, problem solving skills, relationships with others- both peers and elders and motivation to learn when an environment is fun and engaging. This in turn has led to higher academic scores.

Social development

All camps have children living and working together, sharing responsibility and resources while achieving goals. This has been found to have the ability to transform cautious and shy children into positive and self-assured individuals within a relatively short time frame. They develop strong social skills, confidence and independence among their peers which translates to their everyday life empowering them to become better and more caring citizens.

Language immersion

Communication is an important skill for everyone to learn. Language is not limited to just the spoken and written word but also incorporates gestures, body language and facial expressions. While schools offer the basic building blocks of developing language, it is a well-known fact that the only way to truly learn language is by immersion into its cultures and practices. Social and cultural aspects are best learnt through experience. Children have been found to understand language more effectively when it is combined with visual stimulation. This helps children build strong lasting friendships and socialization skills which are both necessary steps in the path to a healthy and productive life.

Whatever the age of your child, summer camps offer a nurturing environment where resilience, self-esteem, life skills and pro social behavior is developed. Away from the distractions of the city and in a natural setting, the need for physical activity is also satisfied in these settings therefore promoting wholesome positive growth to your children in a safe environment.

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Comment by Romel B. Bayaban on May 16, 2013 at 7:47am

That's true, especially if camp was conducted internationally. Aside from this, they will develop nation building skills and become an effective stewards of nature. From there young minds, they are able to gain or visualize the social problems of a particular country or place and able to come up possible solutions.

Comment by Jimmy Sorensen on May 16, 2013 at 1:42am

I totally agree with you Romel B. Bayanan. Summer camp is the only place kids can learn lots of things that to from other kids coming from other places and regions. This will not only enhance their skills, but they will as well get a chance to be a social and make new friends and get to explore different cultures.

Comment by Romel B. Bayaban on May 15, 2013 at 7:13am

Yeah your right. Camp is very important to the life of the children. It would also enhance collaborative skills. If we would apply Realism and Idealism in the concept, this activity is applicable.

Comment by Romel B. Bayaban on May 15, 2013 at 7:11am

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