5 Reasons to send your teenager to camp!

As the times have clearly changed during the last 30 years, summer camps across the country have seen a steady decline as teens have become more independent.  There are, however, some very good reasons for your child to attend summer camp that are more important now than they may have been when we were kids.

1.  Helps them to make friends

Kids who attend camp often make friends who they might not necessarily go to school with or see every day.  This teaches them to stay in touch with people in the long term.  Many youth who attend camp make friends that they stay in touch with all their lives.  This offers them the unique opportunity of branching out in the friends that they have.  Building these relationships with others also boosts their self confidence in socializing, and teaches them social skills in building new friendships in the future.

2.  Forces them to unplug

This is a hot topic these days, but learning to turn the phone or tablet off is a skill that your child can learn!  It's very hard for teens to stay off of the internet these days or away from the video games, but when they have to do it with peers, it makes it much easier for them.  A lot of kids come to camp to  be with friends and to learn how to navigate, mediate, and integrate friendships. The best way to do this is by talking and hanging out together.  It also teaches them the very valuable skill of breaking their dependency on technology, which is very hard to come by these days.  Besides, it's SUMMER!  Our devices will be around all year long, but the summer weather will not.  Unplugging will get them outside and actively using their bodies, instead of sitting around thumbing a smartphone.

3.  Reinforces leadership skills

While not everyone is a natural leader, leadership skills can be learned by anyone, and camp is a great place to learn them.  Camp programs often give youth the opportunities to lead a team, perform music,  create projects, and lead discussions outside of the classroom.  For the shyer crowd, campers can learn these same leadership skills by watching their peers, giving everyone the benefit of youth-directed activities.

4.  Exposure to different age groups

Most teenagers in America spend the majority of their day with students of the same or similar ages.  Many camps offer a much different experience, where 7th graders have to interact with 11th graders, or 9th graders have to work with 12th graders.  This gives youth a unique experience, and motivates younger campers to act more mature, and older campers to step up into leadership roles.  Camp counselors are often not seen so much as "law enforcement" but older, "cool friends," who care about them, and can have a huge impact on their life.

5.  Kids get a good dose of "emotional learning."

At camp, youth go on a number of adventures throughout the week, experiencing and learning many new things.  Learning how to function in a team, for example, is something that a camper at camp can learn much differently than what they might learn at school. Summer camps are the latent learning method of teaching children hard work, teamwork and of preparing them to face difficult situations with courage.  The amazing thing is how the campers don't even realize they are learning any of these things because they are enjoying fun activities, with friends.