Why You Should Plan Your Kids Summer Camp In The Winter
It seems counter-intuitive to even think about the summer when we are in the grip of Polar Vortex 2019, which gave some parts of the USA the worst conditions in 20 years. But think of this -maybe it’s easier to think of summer warmth when we are trying to survive temperatures of -60 degrees freezing. After all, in a matter of only a few months, it will once again be time for the long summer vacation once again, and you will have to think of ways to keep your youngsters occupied and happy all summer long.
So in this post we are going to have and why your kids will benefit from a summer camp and why it is advantageous to do so as early as possible – even though you are freezing in the polar vortex!
Book the camp early
Why? According to the American Camp Association, there are around 7,000 overnight camps and 5,000 day camps across the USA, and more than 6 million children participate each year. Given those statistics, it is common for camps to get fully booked well in advance of summer.
In addition, if you book early, many camps offer early bird discounts, used to get parents to move quickly and book before the prime months of April or May. In addition, others may offer inducements such as
camp store credits
t-shirts or other special gift
a special camp experience for early birds
front of the line wristbands for events or activities
Are summer camps good for kids?
In general, children need to learn life skills such as self-esteem, communication, teamwork, and social skills outside of their home environment. Dr. Peter Scales, Ph.D senior fellow with the Search Institute in Minneapolis, succinctly expressed the advantages as follows "Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don't satisfy all these needs."
So when children attend summer camps like Camp White Pine they will join a community where they learn to interact with mentors, role models and to work with their peers in a positive environment.
Consider these direct advantages of kids attending summer camps:
they avoid the summer slump – there is research to show that kids can lose as much as two months of their grade level equivalency if left under-stimulated during the long vacation.
they build self-confidence – kids gain a sense of achievement from overcoming challenges and from being pushed outside their comfort zone
they can help counter child obesity – by keeping kids active every day and encouraging health eating habits (a study in the American Journal of Health Behavior found that camps that offer wholesome foods are more likely to turn out campers who eat more fruits and vegetables).
they will spend time in nature – an average child can spend an astonishing 8 hours per day on devices, and many rarely venture outside. In 2011 a nationwide poll of parents found that only 10% of children spend time outdoors everyday . Modern households are very sedentary and family activities are sorely lacking in most modern households, and as a consequence parents fail to encourage children to be more active.
they can improve their athletic performance – if your child has a particular interest an ability in a sport, there are a multitude of summer camps focusing on athletic training in activities as varied as baseball to paddle-boarding. If they compete during term time they will have a chance to be ready for the upcoming season.
In general, summer camp encourages children to use their imagination, and play actively, instead of relying upon electronic devices to entertain them. It is their opportunity to learn how to communicate, compromise, and to both lead and demonstrate teamwork with their peers.
They will be placed in a situation where they have a blank slate (away from the pressures of being with kids at school who they know them already) to try something new. Because camp is for a limited time, if your child fails or makes an error, the consequences are not long-lasting, unlike at school.
So summer camp is so much more than kids swimming in the lake, sleeping in log cabins and toasting marshmallows around a camp fire. It is an opportunity for them to learn communication skills, to find their own path, and to experience personal growth and development that they will take forward to their school days and adult years.
What did you learn from your summer camp days? Feel free to share your experiences and advice in the comments below. In the meantime, roll on the long warm days of summer!