New friendships and new adventures are some of the best parts of a memorable summer. Summer camp is a great option to make new friends and have new experiences outside of your neighborhood and classroom. Camps provide the opportunity to retain and expand upon the skills and lessons learned during the rest of the year.
Summer camp provides children with an environment that nurtures experiential education and results in self-respect and appreciation for human value. Campers have a sense of community, develop intergenerational relationships, and learn through first-hand experiences. At the end of each summer, parents report that their children return from camp more caring, understand the importance of giving, are more equipped to stand up for what they know is right, and are willing to be more responsible.
Change is a part of life, and childhood is a time of profound change and development. So, how do we prepare our children with the skills and the competencies they will need to tackle changes in our world? We start with a positive camp experience.
Peg L. Smith, former chief executive officer of the American Camp Association, and Ryan Barone have made a case for camp. Both describe the lasting benefits of summer camp.
The Value of Summer Camp
Camp reinvents or eliminates labels - Parent Guide News reports: "Students often attend school year after year with the same peers, which can lead to labeling and being 'stuck' with a particular perception. A child may become known as studious, quiet, etc., when, really, he can be boisterous in another setting. Children who go to day or sleepaway camps meet a whole other group of people in a different environment. Often times, a child will break out of his supposed categorization if given the chance."
We all have been shaped by our environments in one way or another; but when that shaping forms into a permanent, ill-fitting configuration, it can be difficult to "break out" unless you get out of that environment.
Camp leads to friendship-building and promotes community - Children who interact with like-minded peers can quickly build friendships, potentially lifelong friendships, rooted in similar interests. Summer camp is a place where kids can "practice" growing up stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family.
Camp teaches critical thinking, helps with mental stimulation, and encourages physical activity - Summer camp offers the opportunity for children to be actively involved in their learning process. It prevents the summer learning loss, or summer slide, both mentally and physically. Camp adds in the ability to relate, connect, empathize, and inspire to the learning process.
Camp fosters independence and empowerment - Nothing brings out and tests independence more than giving children time on their own. Summer camp allows for a chance for children to truly understand the thought that goes into making the right decision and they discover even more about themselves in the process. Campers learn to lean on peers for support if they do need additional help.
Camp allows for confidence to be reinforced by success - This can have a lasting impact. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is a sense of success and achievement. Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. They leave understanding that it's okay to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes because that's what happens when you're learning something new. The camp experience translates back to real-world experience in an "I can" attitude.
Camp leads to creativity, free of judgment - At summer camp, there are no failures, only the chance to try new things, which in itself is a success. Creativity isn't stifled at camp because students don’t have to worry about getting a failing grade. When kids are free of restrictions, their creativity can flourish.
Camp builds resilience - This is a culmination of many of the above benefits. Summer camps create new friendships, confidence, independence, and a sense of belonging. All of these things contribute to the development of your child as they make strides from being a kid to a secure, considerate, competent adult.
Barone says it perfectly, "Summer camp offers a structured opportunity for children to grow. Kids go from home to school to extracurriculars, with each environment contributing to their development. Summer camp, then, is another unique venue for growth, allowing kids to become independent and self-confident, while socializing and making new friends, and even learning new skills."
Why Camp at the RAC
We know you and your child; we're your RAC family. If your child has participated in tennis, been to Kids Club, or played in the Neighborhood, then we've already begun developing a relationship with your family. Over 85% of our summer staff work at the RAC throughout the entire year. Our team fosters a connection by knowing your child's name, triggers, allergies, and favorite activities.
Our dedicated team will make sure that your child has a positive and memorable experience. Each team member goes through an extensive interview and training process to prepare them for the summer, including first aid, AED, and CPR certifications. Many are looking forward to careers in education, pediatrics, social work, and health and wellness. Having your child attend camp at the RAC ensures a safe environment for continued growth and development during the summer months.
Registration for Summer Camps will open mid-late February 2022.
“The Case for Camp”. Retrieved from https://www.acacamps.org/campers-families/because-camp
Ryan Barone (May 12, 2019) “11 lasting benefits of summer camp”. Retrieved from https://www.idtech.com/blog/benefits-of-summer-camp-infographic
Jess Michaels, “6 Summer Camp Benefits You may not know.” Retrieved from http://www.parentguidenews.com/Articles/6SummerCampBenefits
Neighborhood Director Pamela Ray is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and moved to Rochester in 2018 from the Washington DC area. She received her undergraduate degree in engineering from Hampton University in Virginia and has a law degree from Georgetown University. With a passion and talent for community engagement and fostering relationships, Pamela received an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University. When Pamela is not in the Neighborhood, you’ll find her on her yoga mat. She teaches Vinyasa 1 on Thursdays at 9:45 am and Vinyasa 2 on Fridays at 11:30 am.
Contact Pamela Ray at (507) 287-9306.