Lonehollow campers are familiar with the term “competition.” From Crew Challenge to Field Day, your campers are pushing themselves to do better for their team, their crew and for themselves. But how do you know if you’re encouraging a healthy amount of competition?
Dr. Timothy Gunn, a pediatric neuropsychologist, says that competition is more about teaching children the importance of hard work and dedication than it is about winning. Campers know that practicing and committing to an activity may give them the chance to represent their crew on Field Day. It’s that commitment that they will need later in life, whether for a spot in their first choice college or for a position at their dream company.
But is there such a thing as too much competition? Yes, but Dr. David Johnson of the University of Minnesota has a solution. Encourage children not just to win, but to support and engage with their teammates. This creates an atmosphere where a child has support when losing while also developing important social skills; lessening the pressure to win and encouraging the reason anyone starts competing in the first place…to have fun!
Competition is a fun way to teach important life lessons, like how to lose gracefully and accept disappointment. There are a lot of opportunities for a child to learn these lessons: school sports teams, extracurricular activities, after-school programs like Girl or Boy Scots, and, of course, summer camp!