Attending a summer camp is an escape from the reality of the real world, we already knew that. However, were you aware of the abundance of lessons, assets, and growth that comes with attending a summer camp, as well? Here at Lonehollow, we pride ourselves on our intentional focus on building assets in our campers. We do this through activities, routines, and schedules that seem normal to the campers, therefore, they do not realize the subconscious growth that is happening around them.
Audrey Monke from Sunshine Parenting found that camp leads to many noticeable benefits in children. Camp is a place where children feel empowered to be themselves. They are surrounded by counselors and friends who support and encourage them to grow beyond what they ever imagined, which builds Asset 7, Community Values Youth. Each camper feels that they are serving a purpose through the different roles they are given around camp including daily chores, setting the table, reading safety guidelines in class, and earning Crew Points. This also helps build Asset 8, Youth as Resources. Campers are able to meet new people as well as help that friendship flourish in a positive environment. These new friendships are completely unbiased from preconceived notions obtained through social media or other people’s opinions, which helps build Asset 15, Positive Peer Influence.
Camp is a place where children are able to experience a plethora of different activities that are not part of their daily routine at home, such as horseback riding, mountain boarding, water games, or outdoor cooking. They take new classes that are out of their comfort zone and conquer their fear of heights by jumping off the blob. Many of the classes offered at a summer camp are outside, away from all technology, which allows the children to unplug for the duration of their time spent at camp and develop an appreciation for the outdoors. They learn to live in the moment, as opposed to wishing the week away, hoping for the weekend.
Attending a summer camp teaches children how to work with others that may have different likes and dislikes from their own. While living in a cabin with 10 other campers is usually a lot of fun, some problems may arise. We teach our campers the value of respecting others’ opinions and working through differences, therefore, enforcing Asset 36, Peaceful Conflict Resolution.
On the first night of camp, all new campers reach into the Old Spanish Log to draw for their Crew. This is the team they will join for the entirety of their time as a camper, which strengthens their sense of belonging. Within the Crews there are different roles and responsibilities given to campers that run for Maverick and Senior Maverick. A Maverick is someone who is elected by their peers to serve as a role model and motivator for their crew, and a senior Maverick is a camper from the oldest age group at camp who serves as a leader, role model, and Jr. Crew Leader. These opportunities, as well as becoming a Trailblazer, which is a group of four-week campers chosen for having demonstrated a commitment to service, give campers the ability to become comfortable in a leadership position. They can then take these leadership skills they learned at camp into their life at home, which points to Asset 9, Service to Others.
Camp is full of new opportunities and experiences. Kids are able to be themselves, find a sense of belonging and make new, lasting friendships. They will try new things, find new hobbies, and be completely unplugged from the influences that come with technology. Camp is a place for intense fun, but it is also a place of learning and growing.