The Benefits of Summer Camps

Gelena Blishteyn
Written by
for Camps USA
The Benefits of Summer Camps

Summer camps have been directly impacting the lives of American children for several decades, becoming increasingly more popular with families for the life lessons that they offer. According to the National Camp Association, more than six million children across the United States attend overnight camps and day camps each summer. In day camps, children are exposed to unique social activities and they are given frequent opportunities to build lasting friendships and a sense of confidence. In overnight summer camps, children are even more immersed into a sense of independence and a nurturing environment that encourages personal success, allowing them to lodge with other children and experience the thrill of safe separation from their parents and guardians. In a study conducted by the American Camp Association, 92 percent of the 5,000 campers surveyed stated that camp helped them feel more positive about themselves.

The benefits of summer camps are numerous and varied, but some of the most prevalent of these positive results will be discussed in this article.

  • Children are given a chance to be independent and develop their own interests.
    When these children are away from their homes or families for an extended amount of time, they begin to develop more mature habits and a routine of doing things for themselves, particularly at overnight camps. Children who once depended on their parents for washing and combing their hair learn quickly at these overnight camps, frequently returning home with their hygienic routine down to an independently individualized science. Along with becoming more independent, these children often begin to develop interests in activities that they would not be able to experience at home. According to research conducted by the American Camp Association, an impressive 63 percent of summer camp participants who are exposed to new activities will retain their interest in the activity for a long period of time after the end of that camp session. Allowing children to attend summer camps will nurture their personal growth into mature young people with individual interests.

  • They become acquainted with homesickness.
    According to Michael Thompson, psychologist and author of Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow, the feeling of homesickness that summer camps can generate does wonders for the maturation of a child. Although it is natural to sympathize with an elementary-aged kid who misses his or her home and family, the experience gained from being homesick will be a lasting benefit; after all, the child will not be a child forever. Progressively more parents are realizing this fact; according to the American Camp Association, 65 percent of American summer camps reported that enrollment stayed the same or increased within the past five years, and, even more impressively, 35 percent of these camps are reportedly 90 percent full or more on a regular basis. Many families now realize that children who are allowed to branch out by themselves to experience the necessary plague of homesickness will feel better about themselves after the ordeal.

  • Children are exposed to physical activities that get them moving.
    The young people of this generation are often glued to their televisions and computers, hesitant to leave the electronics and join the real world. At the majority of summer camps, these children are thrust into the exciting world of physical activity, arts and crafts, and meaningful activities that are meant to expand personal development. One of the best favors one can do for a child during the summer doldrums is to help him or her get a more well-rounded, less electronically-based view of the world. The most successful people of this era, including CEOs and government leaders, frequently voice their support for summer camps. Barack Obama himself sends his children to summer camps and supports their goal of offering physical activities and personal development opportunities to children. Although there is a large number of other beneficial aspects, the three that have been discussed should be considered to be truly essential for a child's personal growth.

Quality summer camps will always have a traditional and exciting hold on the lives of American children, and the positive results that stem from children attending these camps should be recognized and appreciated.

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