Reposted from "Mama Dweeb" blog - Post entitled "Seven Ways Summer Camp Encourages Self-Realization" http://mamadweeb.com/2013/05/seven-ways-summer-camp-encourages-self-realization/
It is Summer camp time!!! Are you signing your children up? There is still time! What is holding you back? Some of my most treasured memories are from camp. I remember the friends, the crafts, the food, and especially learning how to be just myself, away from my family and comforts of home. Summer camp encourages interpersonal growth in a way that few other experiences can. When you find a Summer camp that is the perfect fit for your child and family, you can rest assured that your child will learn and grow about themselves. And they will also have fun. So much fun! Here are 7 ways Summer camp encourages self-realization. Share in the comments other ways you think it can help children grow and mature!
Stepping out of their comfort zone - At Summer camp, children learn how to make decisions without relying on parents or their go-to comforts. This can be incredibly empowering – or super scary. If your child is ready to experience independence, then taking them out of their routines and comfort zones creates the perfect environment for reflection and growth. Structured independence – When you find a camp that fits your child perfectly, s/he will have structure – a very important key to growing and maturing. The boundaries of camp and the trained staff are all tools that will help build self-confidence, assertiveness, and courage in your child.
Social Situations – Summer camps place kids in group situations that teaches them a plethora of social skills including team work, trust, judgement and conflict management. There are team games, social living quarters, and various interactions that lend to this. Some kids will learn how to work with others, some will discover parts of their personalities that don’t lend well to social situations, others will discover how much they enjoy working in groups. Above all, this experience is unmatched in how it brings self-awareness.
Team work in activities – Just like above, the activities they will partake in will teach the child how to best work as a team. Some of my favorite memories include the cabin games – the friendly competition that helped us all work together. What is wonderful about this is the staff is trained to help the children learn about themselves and how to work through whatever is holding them back from enjoying camp and the other kids.
Encouraged to be who they are by the trained staff – leaders are given the chance to lead! The staff of a camp really does make a huge difference in how much your child enjoys the experience. A quality trained staff will notice the qualities of each individual child and do what they can to encourage them to be who they are. Leaders will get a chance to lead, encourages to cheer them on, creators to create and thinkers to analyze.
Feeds their hunger for adventure, sparks interest – At camp, kids learn what they love and what they really don’t care for (ok, what they really despise!). I learned how much I didn’t enjoy arts and crafts at Summer camp. To this day I don’t really do them, even with my kids (oh my poor kids). But I learned how much I loved leading team activities. And if you find a camp that is geared to a specific interest you can help them have an even fiercer hunger to learn more about it!
Emotional muscles grow and stretch – Children are all so different- from shy to extremely extroverted. Camp lets them grow these muscles! The trained staff will be there to talk through situations – like home sickness at night or hurt feelings from friends during the day. As the child works through these rough patches, they will be so much wiser, stronger, and more confident the next time they encounter it.