By Amber Ford, Family Services Director, Spears Family YMCA
Over the years many parents have asked, “what is the point of summer camp anyway?” Summer camps are designed for youth to explore, create, discover, and grow. Camps are fun for a summer and provide lessons that last a lifetime.
Building independence, self-esteem, and lasting relationships.
From birth children begin to learn about their inner selves and start becoming their own person. Having youth learn to solve their own problems, turn to peers and counselors for support, and be responsible for their belongings and activity area are key parts of the summer camp experience. They’re picking and choosing which activities they want to do that day, hiding and seeking, being messy, and doing the spooky things children do (while being supervised). It is that feeling of success and freedom that translates into self esteem.
One of the greatest benefits of a camp experience is that children develop social skills. Every camper is included in the camp activities and each child interacts with the others in a respectful, honest, and caring way. They learn the group dynamics of teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and the balance of dependency on one another to accomplish tasks. At camp children tend to be accepted for who they are and do not have to be as concerned with what they wear or what they are good at, or how they look.
Because all kids deserves the opportunity to discover what they can achieve.
Summer camps are designed to be a place of happy memories, exploration, and creative expression. They provide plenty of opportunities to learn something new such as; drama, singing, outdoor skills, painting, sporting games, and more. While at camp children will continuously try new activities and also engage in and build upon the ones that they are familiar with. Because they have different activities to choose from, each and every camper can feel special enjoying a craft, sport or outdoor activity. Most youth will learn skills and discover new interests that they can then pursue and enjoy for the rest of their lives.
While it is important that youth have a variety of activities in their daily camp routines, it is also important that they are active throughout the day. Most camps incorporate a plethora of silly, fun, and educational games as well as sports and fitness activities. The YMCA offers a variety of sports camps including volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse. These camps promote physical activity, teamwork, and confidence in youth.
Make choosing a camp a family decision.
Involve your child in the process of choosing a summer camp. Start by making a list with your child of activities that they are interested in or would like to try. Then take a look at the variety of activities that nearby camps offer. Camp is intended to be a positive experience and environment for youth. Sending them to a camp that they’ve neither seen nor received information on could have negative results. Be sure that when considering a camp, to take the following into consideration: counselor to child ratio, variety of activities, swimming policies, the camp’s cancellation policy, will the camp be transporting your child for any reason, and are the staff CPR & First Aid certified?
Even though the cost of summer camp may seem prohibitive, sending your child to camp is an investment in their future. The skills, interests, and relationships that children build upon while in camp can benefit them for years to come.
The YMCA of Greensboro offers the Open Doors Scholarship program for families in need of financial assistance.
The YMCA of Greensboro provides several camp options for youth including Day Camps (Camp Boomerang, Camp My-Y, Kidz Taylored, A.N.T.S. Camp, Discovery Day Camp, and Camp Weaver), overnight camp (Camp Weaver), and sports camps (available at all branches). All of these camps ensure that the children will have “fun for a summer and lessons for a lifetime.”
For more information contact your local YMCA or visit www.ymcagreensboro.org.
Sponsored by YMCA Greensboro