By Kim McClure

A great summer camp experience can have positive effects on a child that last long after summer ends. As parents, we want the best for our children’s development.YMCA camp programs offer a fun and unique experience that gives children and teens the opportunity to meet new friends, explore nature, discover new interests, be physically active and create memories that last a lifetime.

Attending summer camp is beneficial to every child’s personal development. The experience teaches essential leadership and social skills and helps youth develop confidence and independence. Being a part of the camp community nurtures the potential of every child. Here are three of the top things every parent should know about how summer camp can benefit your child.

1. Time to unplug and just be a kid.

Nearly 50 percent of U.S. parents say technological distractions such as television, cell phones or video games make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle for their children, according to the latest findings of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot, a survey that gauges children’s activity levels during the school year. Summer camp can help kids unplug from technology by engaging them in activities that keep them moving, learning and exploring new things with others.

2. Build confidence and resiliency.

While being away from the routine back home, children and teens have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. We believe that every camper should be challenged by choice. So they are in control of when they are ready to try new things, but we encourage and support them along the way. Camps offer children an opportunity to learn character values and be their best selves in a positive, encouraging, caring environment where they are free to make mistakes without being teased or put down.

3. Find active adventure.

Every week at summer camp is something new – whether it’s a treasure hunt themed week or competing in mini-Olympics events. Summer camp is all about a wide variety of fun adventures and new experiences, and especially exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen.

At the Y, there is a camp program for everyone! From day camp and overnight (resident) camp to specialty and sports camps to partnerships that provide options for differently-abled or special needs kids, there is a suitable camp to meet the diverse needs of campers.

Overnight Camp
Overnight camps are in session from a few days to several weeks and offer a wide variety of outdoor adventures led by trained and experienced leaders that will surely offer school age children and teens an unforgettable experience. Click here to learn more about YMCA Camp Hanes.

Day Camp
Day camp can offer almost all of the benefits of traditional camp — new experiences, skill building, a sense of community and lasting friendships — while returning home each afternoon. The Y offers day camps for elementary age children, as well as teens.

Specialty Camps
Specialty camps focus on particular programming such as teen adventure, music, art, and sports specialties.

Now is the time to beginning researching camps. Registration for YMCA Camps opens in early March. Click here to learn more.

At the Y, we believe that every child deserves to experience summer camp. That’s why we raise funds through our Annual Giving Campaign going on now so that children in need can receive Y scholarships for camp.

Questions? Feel free to get in touch with your local YMCA  or you can reach me at 336 727 4849

Kim McClure is the Executive Director of Childcare Services for the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina

Sponsored by the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina