Camp has provided opportunities for children and adults to discover or further develop many life lessons
Published: May 1, 2023
By: Courtesy of the American Camping Association
Life lessons. These are moments where the lightbulb goes off over a child’s head. They understand the concept of two plus two. They see something they can’t un-see or learn something they’ll never forget. Over the last 150-plus years, camp has provided opportunities for children and adults to discover or further develop many life lessons. Here are just a few.
It’s all about relationships.
Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum and no one can do this alone. Just like a classroom, children have opportunities at camp to share experiences with peers, develop friendships, and learn the ups and downs of getting along with others. By the nature of co-existing in the same space and enjoying similar experiences, camp encourages children to develop and maintain skills necessary to relationship building.
I can do that!
Confidence! Camp thrives on self-efficacy in young people. Enjoying success in a healthy manner and learning to overcome obstacles or even failure are hallmarks of a camp experience. For both campers and staff, camp allows young people to feel proud when things go well and encourages resilience when they don’t.
Take a risk.
One way to build confidence is to try something new. Camp is rife with safe, healthy opportunities for children to take a chance. This could mean climbing a 30-foot wall, trying out for the camp production of Peter Pan, riding a horse, or trying broccoli for the first time. At camp, young people learn how to take risks and learn from their outcomes.
It’s a great big world out there.
When a child goes to camp, they interact with peers and adults from places they might have never seen or even heard of. Campers might hear a new song or accent. They may meet someone from another state or country, and sometimes they run into people from home who become lifelong friends at camp. Camp is an opportunity to both try new things and meet new people.
Not all learning happens in a classroom.
Last but certainly not least, campers discover that school does not have a monopoly on learning. Campers develop new skills, learn about their own passions and interests, and are exposed to ideas and experiences that don’t normally sneak into a formal classroom. Without knowing it, campers are learning every day by simply getting out and going to camp.