Top 10 Health Benefits of Going To Summer Camp
When you think of summer camp, you probably think fun summer days playing on the lake, making new friends and creating lifelong memories, but did you know there are also many health benefits of going to summer camp as a child? While there’s truly an endless list of benefits for children going to summer camp, here are our top 10 health benefits that help their mental, physical and emotional health.
1 – Self-Esteem
Children who have high self-esteem tend to value themselves more, thinking of themselves as worthy of being loved, accepted by friends and family, and capable of persevering through difficult challenges. Having high self-esteem is linked to cultivating a positive outlook on life and increased self-respect. Plus, these skills have been linked to leading a successful, more meaningful life.
When children achieve things big and small, like sleeping away from home the first time, or getting up the climbing wall, they build a sense of capability and develop confidence, according to Kids Health.
2 – Resiliency & Independence
Facing new challenges, like hiking or building a fire, can help children develop and nurture a sense of resiliency, according to Psychology Today. Camps offer a slew of character-building exercises and ways for youth to challenge themselves and each other. Through practices like Challenge By Choice, campers can gain confidence, learn how to solve problems, and work together all while fostering a sense of independence.
3 – Being Tech Free
These days, media consumption for children is at all-time highs. In a Pew Research Center study, they found teenagers on average receive 67 texts per day. In this NY Times article, they referred to a study with 6th graders by child development specialist Dr. Yalda T. Uhls. They showed how only five days at a tech-free summer camp increased social interactions and improved comprehension of nonverbal emotional cues.
Screen-free summers help campers develop soft skills that they simply don’t get in school or at home. These skills include teamwork, communication, problem solving and independence.
Parents can help prep their campers by writing letters and creating tech-free days at home. In this way, our children start to learn to not reflexively reach for their cellphones and can help stave off that withdrawal period when they get to summer camp.
4 – Play & Exercise
There are benefits of going to summer camp beyond the simple joys of play. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is widely considered a substantial contributor to cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth. Plus, it benefits strong parent-child bonds to boot. Physical play helps children hone their coordination, gross-motor skills, and fine-motor skills. Research shows that active children tend to be healthier and leaner with more active adult lifestyles later on.
5 – Sleep & Routine
Physical activity also benefits our children’s sleep habits and regulates digestion and more efficient energy storage. Summer camps typically foster sleep routines for every cabin, which promotes optimal health, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
6 – Nurturing Friendships
According to a study published in PLoS One, people derive meaning from social groups, which go hand in hand with increased self-esteem. Another study showed how strong social connections can offset stressors in our lives, citing how physical touch like hugs can relieve negative emotions like stress.
7 – Connection With Nature
Studies now show how outdoor activity is incredibly beneficial for children’s developing minds.
One study found that the mere presence of nature can bolster a child’s resilience against stress. Indoor activities such as video gaming and spending time on computers have significantly contributed to child obesity, according to multiple studies.
For a good place to start at home, check out the Children and Nature Network, a team that’s dedicated to reconnecting children with nature.
8 – Communication Skills
Instead of their typical at-home interventions from parents, campers need to learn to advocate for themselves and communicate with each other. Being aware and able to express feelings, needs and wants in a safe environment is key to nurturing their communication skills. One of the benefits of going to summer camp is being around so many other children and staff in a non-school setting where children can be part of a wide variety of different social settings; from embers to evening programs!
At Camp Augusta, counselors and campers alike practice intentional speech and Clean Communication. In this way, they create a community of intention, power, and compassion.
9 – Building Community & Teamwork
Summer camps offer a fun, safe and healthy community to live and play in. Campers have the opportunity to live away from home and build problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
By learning and growing alongside their cabinmates and counselors, they learn teamwork skills through healthy competition, performances, ropes courses and taking care of their living spaces. Being a good team member also means learning new or improving their communication skills, bringing new abilities, personalities and attitudes to the table for everyone to learn from.
10 – Mental & Developmental Health
Summer camps are in unique positions as childcare professionals because they ensure a child’s mental health is observed with an open mind and communicated properly with parents. Summer camp offers children a place to grow and work with emotional and behavioral challenges with counselors that have varying degrees of staff training on these matters.
Note: It’s important to consult with camps prior to sending children there to make sure your child’s needs can be met.
So what now…?
Summer camps offer a truly unparalleled combination of teachable moments, physical activity, and powerful messaging from peers. A quality camp experience can offer children a chance to create powerful “personal narratives” that help them interpret the world. Increased self-worth, confidence, emotional health and wellbeing can enable children to help them experience their world in a more positive, joyous way.
With so many benefits of going to summer camp, it’s no wonder Camp Augusta and many other camps continue to have a waitlist for new campers, fill out an interest form today to join our waitlist and let your camper experience the Camp Augusta difference!