As parents, we remember our camping days set in a summer of nonstop outdoor fun. We often forget that our world is different from the world of dawn-to-dusk summers where we ran safely through the neighborhood, shouting “Red Rover, Red Rover” and “Olly Olly Oxen Free.” When we were kids, we would stay outside playing all day only to return home when the streetlights came on.
Young people today don’t often experience the kind of outdoor freedom that we regularly experienced. Crime rates have increased, and neighborhoods are no longer the safe haven they used to be. As a result, young people spend a greater amount of time indoors. In today’s world of texting, computer games, and online socializing, summer camps are more important than ever.
In a recent article titled, “Have We Added Another Lost Generation?” Marc Joseph discusses how this new generation of young people, “Generation Z,” absolutely needs to experience summer camp. “This generation has a completely different outlook on life compared to previous generations because they were born into school shootings, the rise of global terrorism, climate change controversy, the housing bubble burst, the financial crisis and the weakening of America as a super power . . . ” He describes a generation of young people that need the kind of safe, fun environment that summer camp provides.
According to a recent study conducted by the American Camp Association (ACA), summer camp helps young people learn skills important to development. Barry A. Garst, Ph.D., director of ACA’s Research identified a number of positive outcomes of summer camp. The following are the top five:
As parents, we want our children to have the same sense of adventure that we had growing up. Summer camp provides a safe, supervised environment for young people to experience outdoor activities. Many camps offer rope courses, watersports, motorsports, hiking, rock wall climbing and other opportunities to try new outdoor activities.
Parents often worry that it will be difficult for their young person to make new friends at summer camp, but according to the American Camp Association (ACA), campers reported making new friends as one of the top three outcomes of the summer camp experience. The camp environment is actually an easy place to make friends because campers spend so much time together.
Campers report having a much greater positive identity following the summer camp experience. Teamwork activities, confidence building activities, such as rope courses, and the pursuit of individual interests all contribute to personal growth.
Parents report seeing greater independence in their campers after summer camp. In fact, of the top positive outcomes of summer camp, parents report independence in the top three. (Making friends and a greater sense of adventure/exploration are also at the top of the list of outcomes that parents notice in their campers upon returning from camp.)
Both parents and campers reported improved leadership skills as an outcome of attending summer camp. With so many opportunities to experience teamwork activities, campers learn to lead as well as to cooperate on a team.
Without cell phones or computers, summer camp enables “Generation Z” to experience the outdoors in a fun, supervised environment that promotes so many positive outcomes. For more information about our summer camp, contact Pali Adventures today, where your camper will experience the ultimate outdoor adventure in a fun, safe, supportive environment.