One of the unique aspects of sleepaway camp is the cabin experience. Living with a group of 10 or so of your peers – and the supervision of two or three college-aged counselors – provides a critical opportunity for growth in many areas. Kids learn to communicate with each other effectively and positively, to collaborate and share their space and their time, and navigate conflict both on their own and with the assistance of their counselors. Every child benefits from practicing these skills, but perhaps none more so than an only child.
More and more these days, families have seemingly countless opportunities and commitments each summer. Academic camps, sports preseasons, family trips - so many things that on the surface might seem more important than "just" going to summer camp. After all, wouldn't an academic camp better prepare a child for their next year in school? Wouldn't a family trip provide kids with irreplaceable memories with their family?
Both of these things are likely true, and valuable. But they do not have to come at the cost of summer camp, and we believe they should not, considering the specific growth and learning that can happen more at summer camp than almost anywhere else. Including academic camps, sports preseasons, or family trips.
For example, there is growing evidence to support the conjecture that overnight summer camp increases a child's ability to thrive when they leave home to go to college. While there has been no large-scale study that we are yet aware of, many writers, college administrators, and parents are beginning to believe that previous camp experience offers an advantage to students when they arrive at college.
Last week, I shared the first half of a letter written by one of Steve Sir's college bound sons (http://blog.campchampions.com/success-in-college-and-a-personal-letter-part-1). Here is the final part of his essay about his experiences at camp and how it has prepared him for the next four years and onwards.
From Steve Sir:
During the second semester of his senior year, I asked my son Liam whether he had a case of “senioritis”. He responded that he did not like being idle and that high school did not provide the same challenge that it once had. He even suggested that he would not mind a little more homework (yeah, I gasped too).
With that, I asked him if he would be interested in writing an article about camp.
“Sure, what is the title?”
“How about ‘how camp prepared me for college?”
“I’ll think about it,” was his reply.
Four hours later, he sent me the following article. I'll split it into two different posts, as it's quite the letter.
I hope you enjoy it.
“How camp prepared me to leave home and thrive in college.”
When you are growing up – or indeed, at any time in your life – one of the worst things imaginable is the idea of being alone.