Inspired by a recent article about the benefits of camp, I am taking off my pool director hat and am writing this post with my parent hat on. Last summer we decided to send our oldest child to camp hoping that it would be a great transition from the small family day care he had been in for many years to kindergarten. We hoped that he would make new friends, improve his swimming skills, build his confidence, and have fun. However, the most noticeable and long lasting skill that he gained from camp was increased independence.
Our oldest child has always been quite responsible and responsive, but his actions were always based on our requests. Imagine my surprise when, after the third day of camp, he came home, emptied his backpack and hung up his wet swimsuit and towel without being asked. To top it off, he then remembered that he had swim lessons after camp the following day, and ran off to grab two swimsuits and packed those and two towels himself. Once I pulled my chin off the floor, I commended his efforts, and then wondered if this amazingness would continue or if the whole thing was a fluke. I remember saying to my husband, “This is really great, but will it continue?” Shame on me for underestimating my child because it was not a fluke; he continued to unpack and pack his backpack every night for the remaining six weeks.
Sure, the transition to kindergarten last fall was a big one; I think it is for many children. However, I credit his six weeks of camp for helping build many, many skills that provided him with an even stronger foundation for school. This summer, all four of our children are old enough to attend camp, and while I know they will have a lot of fun, I can’t wait to see what they learn and how those skills with help them outside of camp as well. What skills have your children gained from their camp experience? What are you hoping they come away with this summer?
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