5 More Reasons For Every Child to Attend Camp
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Barr is the Owner/President of Camps Canada, a summer camp based in Ottawa, Ontario. As a voice
for Canadian Camp Owners and Camp Directors, Matt is a frequent guest on radio and television
programs across the country discussing the latest trends and issues in summer camps. He can be reached by
email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Number 1 - CAMP IS A PLACE WHERE POSITIVE MEMORIES ARE MADE THAT LAST A LIFETIME
If adults that have attended summer camps as children are asked what their fondest childhood
memories are, it is often found that they recollect and share their camp memories. Camp
memories are created every year because of the great experiences shared by campers while
at camp but more importantly because of the other campers and staff who share those
experiences together with them. Long after campers “graduate” from the camp experience,
after they say that last goodbye on the last day of their last year at camp, they fondly
recall the cabin-mates and counsellors that provided them with the activities they
experienced every summer.
Number 2 - CAMP IS A PLACE WHERE “LIFE LONG LEARNABLES” ARE LEARNED
In this age of hockey practices, piano lessons, MCAT preps, computer courses, and math
tutors, all of which can be important features in a child’s development, camp offers
the venue to learn the “bigger” skills – the ones that can’t be learned in any classroom.
Ask yourself if you feel that taking turns is a skill… how about being nice to people
around you… what would you say about working as a team – is that a skill? Camp is a
place where these skills and so many more are “practiced” so regularly but in a way
in which campers don’t even realize this is happening. The camp environment, free
from the regimented systems of many other learning environments, is in fact a place
where children learn… but in a way that is comfortable and meaningful, and whose
lessons are arguably the most important a child will be taught in their entire life.
Number 3 - CAMP IS A PLACE WHERE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS ARE FORMED
Although no formal study has been done, there is an oft used statistic kicked around by
camp directors these days. Many of us have observed that many of the weddings we are
being invited to are between campers that attended our camps decades prior and that the
frequency of divorces in these marriages are staggeringly low. Now this can be a very
unnerving thought for first time camp parents sending their little six year old off to
day camp for the first time but it does illustrate a very important point: it appears
that as a result of the depth of experience of attending summer camp, the relationships
formed there are stronger and more meaningful than most others formed in a child’s
lifespan. This is not to say that parents should send their children to camp in
hopes of them finding a spouse! However, when children play together, laugh together,
are challenged together, sing together, and live together, what ends up happening is
that they grow together and with that grow closer to one another learning the values
of friendship and community in a way that cannot be duplicated in other summer settings.
Number 4 - CAMP IS A PLACE WHERE CAMPERS ENJOY THE OUTDOORS
Ontario is beautiful country and nothing inspires its discovery more than the camp
experience. Whether campers are hiking through forested hills, swimming in freshwater
lakes, gazing at the setting sun, playing in open fields, or meeting its friendly
wildlife, camp’s everyday activities often give rise for a love of this land. The
direct impact of this is an evident environmental conscientiousness among campers
who learn to clean up their mess when at camp. But the larger, and equally
important result is a greater social consciousness in children, and an awareness
that they are a part of something bigger… that their actions affect others in both
the short and long term.
Number 5 - CAMP IS A PLACE WHERE CAMPERS FIND BALANCE
Regardless of a particular camp focus, camp activities often balance competitive
and cooperative, land and water, outside and in the shade, athletic and creative.
When we get too hot, we get a drink of water and go into the shade. When we’ve been
playing a lot of team sports, we refocus on individual challenge and achievement.
The concept of balance is one often spoken about, but seldom modelled for young
people today. We often find ourselves commenting in front of our children how we
wish we could work less, sleep more, eat better, and exercise more frequently…
At camp, balance is practiced and as a result enjoyed by its campers.