30 Life Skills Kids Build at Camp
By Atlanta Parent Editorial . February 15, 2019
No need to fret about sending your child away to camp this summer – he’ll learn life skills and independence and return home transformed by the experience.
- Fitness. If your child is a passionate about virtual realities, camp is the perfect motivation to get off the couch and get moving. Your child will return home tan, fit and inspired to keep moving.
- Proficiency. Does your child complain of boredom? Exposure to skill-building activities can convert kvetching into pride. Aptitude, discipline and confidence come from doing new things.
- Safety awareness. Do you fret about your child’s well-being? Then send him to camp to learn about first aid, water safety, and other safety protocols come with learning new things.
- Eye-hand coordination. Even klutzy kids can get the hang of activities that encourage process mastery like archery, horseback riding or rowing. Having to learn an ordered series helps dreamy kids focus and execute tasks.
- Healthy risk-taking. Do you worry that your child will go too far testing the limits of what’s humanly possible? Camp is the perfect place to wear out a child with excess energy. Counselors can help campers channel a zest for risks into safe outlets while honoring camp rules.
- Decision-making. Camp is the perfect practice-ground for unsure kids to determine what they want and need on a regular basis. Choosing is a crucial ability for creating satisfaction in life.
- Accountability. Do you wonder if you do too much for your child? Whether he has to pack a backpack for an overnight hiking trip or show up wearing activity-appropriate shoes, being prepared for what’s coming next in life is important. When it comes to accountability, kids get daily practice.
- Time management. If your child is often late, camp is a great place to learn timeliness. Your child will swiftly master punctuality when engaged in activities he enjoys. And this proactive habit can carry over into everyday life during the rest of the year.
- Tolerance. Kids sometimes live in homogeneous rather than diverse environments. If all the other kids are the same race, class and social status where you live, how will your child learn to be open-minded? Camp is a great place to immerse kids in diversity so tolerance can take root.
- Assertiveness. When kids lives are scheduled from morning to night year-round, they miss opportunities to speak up for what they think, need and desire. Camp offers kids opportunities to practice healthy communication all day long because no one is smoothing the path before them.
- Self-care. Kids can’t learn to take care of their needs unless they learn to pay attention to them. Navigating a new environment with unfamiliar people helps kids learn to trust their intuition and honor their instincts.
- Listening. Kids can develop listening fatigue with parents and other everyday authority figures. But after tuning in closely to some new-to-them camp leaders, they just might bring better listening abilities back home.
- Playfulness. Sometimes within the rush and rigors of daily life, families forget how to relax. Camp is a great place to remember how to lighten up and enjoy the day.
- Grit. This trendy term means the combination of courage and resolve. If your child does not bounce back quickly from disappointments, camp is a great place to learn tenacity, conflict resolution and problem solving.
- Self-appreciation. Camp is a place where kids can discover new things to like about themselves. Increased self-reliance is often the first step towards building higher self-esteem.
- Sociability. Shy or introverted children start to feel more accepted and appreciated every time they make a new friend.
- Emotional intelligence. If you have siblings who bicker quite a bit, they may benefit from getting along more easily with kids who are not kin. Camp counselors have a way of expecting thoughtfulness and encouraging kids to practice it.
- Lasting connections. Remember pen pals? At camps, kids can make new friends and find ways to keep in touch until they meet again. This is a great way for kids to build an extended social network.
- Self-expression. Parents may unwittingly hold kids back from finding new forms of self-expression. At camp, kids find fresh audiences for the countless ways to share who they are and what they think and feel. Increased self-expression leads self-discovery.
- Cohabitating. If you want your child to learn new things, put him in a tent or cabin with roommates and watch the lessons unfold. Sharing space and resources with others is a crash course in self-awareness and peacekeeping.
- Mentoring. Camp counselors provide excellent examples of what a constructive mentor-mentee relationship is like. Encourage kids to become counselors in the future if they wish to experience both sides of this educational relationship.
- Collaboration. Perhaps during the school year, teamwork is limited to sports and cooperation is confined to the classroom. At camp, every endeavor from cleaning a cabin to climbing a rock face becomes a new way to understand the importance of working together.
- Negotiating. Your kids benefit from learning how to sort things out between themselves at camp. Discussing, bargaining and coming to agreements that make sense for everyone involved is tool for creating a richer life.
- Leadership. Camp provides opportunities for kids to discover and nurture the leader inside. Every child is a boss at something. You may not think of a prolific reader as a leader, but what a terrific example he can set for campers who avoid books altogether.
- Diplomacy. With bullying behavior at an all-time high, diplomacy is more needed than ever. Camp offers ample opportunities to find common ground, share mutual respect and practice win-win relating.
- Unplugging. Virtual realities are great when balanced with the real world. If you cannot seem to make a dent in your child’s obsession with technology, why not let the trained staff at camp try.
- Groundedness. The first step to recovering from too much anxiety is being in touch with the natural world. Kids benefit in numerous ways from slowing down to the speed of life.
- Navigation. You won’t likely be able to convince kids that they need to learn old-school map techniques while they have a GPS in their pocket. But put them in the middle of the woods with no internet connection and they just might feel differently.
- Survival. Would your child know how to build a shelter, purify water, start a fire and find food if lost in the wilderness? Learning naturalism empowers kids to feel competent and confident in every area of life.
- Earth stewardship. One of the best ways to teach kids about personal responsibility is to teach them about wilderness conservation. Learning about flora and fauna can spark kids’ innate respect for the natural world.
– Christina Katz