Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Kids need Summer Camp, and Parents do too. Now more than ever...
Kids Need Summer Camp
If you are considering summer camp for your child, you may be wondering if it is the right fit for your child's personality. Perhaps your child has never spent much time away from you besides going to school, or maybe your child has special interests, and you are worried they will feel out of place at camp.
Although each child is a unique individual, we believe summer camp is beneficial for all kids. No matter what your child's interests are, camp helps children develop important social, emotional and cognitive skills. Best of all, children create memories that last a lifetime at camp.
What Is It Like to Go to GRIT Summer Camp?
As adults, many people look back fondly on the days of summer camp. They remember the thrill of adventure with friends for the first time, or the carefree afternoons playing with their friends under the summer sun. Camp became not just a way to pass summer break, but a vital part of who they are. At camp, children grow, explore and learn about themselves and the people and world around them, and they have fun throughout the entire process.
At GRIT we believe in combining the fun of summer day camp while also providing stimulating academic programs from our partner JEI Learning to make sure that they don’t fall behind. Kids love our movement-based programs, games and activities that help them improve their balance and gross motor skills. With COVID, we have re-imagined our camp programs this summer to use our facility as a base camp with daily outdoor adventures using local parks and outdoor sports fields for our activities.
Here is our GRIT List of why Summer Camp is important to your child.
1. Develops Lifelong Skills
During summer camp, children participate in a variety of group activities. This helps them learn how to work on a team, communicate with other children and solve problems on their own.
Of course, children learn social skills in school as well. However, camp brings children together in an environment that encourages a greater sense of community and appreciation for individual differences, whereas school focuses mainly on academic achievement.
2. Promotes Independence
At camp, a child experiences time away from a parent. This independent time is important in helping children develop a sense of identity. Kids learn to become more self-reliant as they explore their interests and discover their strengths and weaknesses. They learn to trust their inner voice instead of depending on a parent or teacher to tell them what to do. Independence is vital to becoming a self-sufficient adult.
Raising an independent child means teaching responsibility, encouraging exploration and providing a safe environment for a child to make decisions independently. Summer camp nurtures all three of these elements.
3. Makes Time for Play
During the school year, children are used to the routine of making it to school on time, doing homework and then going to bed. Some may engage in extracurricular activities. Although still structured, GRIT summer camp is more relaxed than the school routine and provides time and freedom for spontaneous play.
Free play is important to a child's development because they learn to develop creative thinking skills and explore their imagination through play. Playtime creates a safe place for children to express their thoughts and emotions, creating stronger and happier kids. They also learn to interact with the world around them, resolve conflicts, build negotiating skills and relieve stress. There are countless benefits to unstructured play, and it's a fun way to make new friends.
4. Teaches Teamwork
No matter what your child's interests are, whether it be sports or arts and crafts, a summer camp program will engage them in activities that require teamwork. Knowing how to work in a team is a useful skill for life. Teamwork matters because it helps develop communication skills, emotional intelligence and leadership skills.
An understanding of teamwork helps a child realize working with others is sometimes the most efficient way to get things done. They will value teamwork as a solution, rather than think they need to handle tasks on their own. As a result, children will grow up with an eagerness to be active members of their community.
5. Teaches Resiliency
Resiliency is an essential life skill because to be resilient means to get up and push forward after an inevitable setback.
Camp provides the opportunity for children to face many challenges and to practice overcoming challenges. For example, they might not win their first soccer game, but they will learn practice will make them a better player. Or, they might not be able to reach the top of the an obstacle right away, but they will learn not to give up and to keep trying. Once they make it to the top, they will feel stronger and more resilient than they did before.
Camp teaches the value of effort and helps kids believe in themselves as they overcome challenges with determination, patience and a drive to succeed. Learning new hobbies also teaches positive outlets to cope with life struggles, and kids will build a strong support system of camping buddies to help them leap over obstacles.
6. Provides Fun Screen-Free Activities
Kids and adults are spending too much time in front of a screen- even more so during this time of COVID with Zoom meetings and computer assignments. In total, children spend more than seven hours a day in front of a screen, whether that be on a mobile device, in front of a TV or at a computer playing a video game. Too much media time reduces time spent sleeping and reading, and may have a negative impact on performance in school.
Camp helps children connect to the joy of life beyond the screen. In all our Summer camp programs, children will have endless opportunities to engage their minds in ways they'll enjoy.
Regardless of what your child's interests are, they will learn and socially interact in a healthy real-world setting at summer camp. Time away from the screen is vital to a child's brain, body, spirit and future, and could benefit us all.
7. Encourages a Connection with Nature
Speaking of time away from technology, kids also need nature in their lives.
Nature stimulates all the senses. When a child is outdoors, they get to see, touch, hear, smell and sometimes even taste nature. Sensory development makes life richer, fuller and all-around more pleasurable. On the contrary, too much time indoors can dull the senses and deprive children of the simple pleasures in life.
Most importantly, outdoor time encourages movement, which is vital for physical, mental and emotional health. Outside, children are free to run, skip, jump, climb, laugh and breathe the fresh air. Plus, they get a healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sun.
Lastly, nature helps children experience the magic and wonder of childhood, and it gets them thinking about life's greatest mysteries.
8. Fosters Growth
One of the biggest benefits of summer camp is it takes children out of their comfort zone and pushes them to try new things, as well as explore their already established interests. They will grow as they develop their skills doing their favorite activities, and they will develop new skills as they try activities they have never tried before.
In general, they will leave camp with a stronger sense of identity and a better idea of what they love, which may help them choose a career path in the future.
9. Builds Self-Esteem
At summer camp, children have the opportunity to achieve, whether that be to catch a fish or to paint their first painting in a less competitive environment than school. Achievement is the main ingredient in self-esteem.
Self-esteem is important for children and adults because we make decisions in life based on how we see ourselves. We choose our careers, relationships and make other important decisions heavily influenced by our self-esteem. Children learn self-esteem through taking action and earning results, and by contributing to their community. They learn to value themselves as a result of hard work and achievement.
10. Supports Healthy Living
Camp programs encourage healthy eating and physical activity. At camp, kids have the opportunity to participate in all kinds of fun physical activities at any skill level. All children will have the opportunity to participate in physical activity, no matter what camp they choose.
Only one in three children is active every day according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, and it boosts confidence and helps manage stress. At GRIT we teach the importance of physical activity when children are young so they can carry exercise habits into adulthood.
In general, kids rely on fun, activities, learning and socializing to relieve stress at camp, rather than engaging in less healthy activities.
11. Nurtures Friendships
Kids get to meet other children with similar interests in a relaxed setting at camp. They also get to meet new friends with different backgrounds. Children bond over their camp experience, the challenges they face together and the fun they have free of pressure and media distraction to build genuine friendships that last.
12. Teaches Kids to Respect Differences
In summer camp, children will learn to work with other children to accomplish common goals, whether that be to build a shelter or win a baseball game. While engaged in a variety of activities, children will gain exposure to different viewpoints and opinions. They will learn to accept not everyone has the same perspective or beliefs they do. They will also learn that to accomplish a goal with others, or to live and play in harmony, they must respect and work with differences.
Also, summer camp creates an environment that encourages respect and consideration for others. Children get praise for including others and behaving respectfully.
13. Keeps Kids Intellectually Engaged
Over the summer, kids might become sluggish without the intellectual stimulation of school, but camp provides mental stimulation in fun ways children can enjoy. Kids get the chance to participate in activities that interest them, and some programs include time for reading.
At GRIT, we combine Academic activities from our partner JEI Learning to insure we are challenging them mentally while providing a strong foundation for them to be ready to take on school this fall.
14. Promotes Growth in a Safe Environment
Although kids will enjoy the freedom to play and choose activities that interest them, camp also provides a safe, comforting and structured environment. Campers follow a schedule and routine, which provides a sense of security. This structure also teaches responsibility and self-control.
For example, overnight campers wake up in the morning and learn to start the day with a nourishing breakfast. They get into a routine that encourages a decent night of sleep and healthy eating. Children may follow these habits far into adulthood.
When a child feels safe and secure, they feel free to explore their interests, to play and to laugh. Camp gives kids a chance to express themselves and learn who they are.
15. Gives Children a Sense of Purpose
Children will feel a greater connection to their community through camp activities like singing, dancing or playing sports. As a result, kids grow up to value community and may feel more inclined to make a positive impact on the world around them. A greater sense of community teaches a child they can make a difference that matters. Also, community involvement gives children a sense of belonging. Belonging combats loneliness and improves overall well-being for us all.