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The Lasting Benefits of Summer Camp

By Emily Smith

Summer is just around the corner and for many kids that means it’s time for summer camp! Many of us share fond childhood memories of summer camp – making new friends, sleeping in bunk beds, day hikes, campfires, and don’t forget the s’mores. But camp is so much more beneficial for our kids than we may have imagined. Here are four benefits disguised behind the fun of camp:

1. The Road to Independence
Camp is a safe place for kids to learn responsibility as they are empowered to take care of themselves. Camp counselors provide structure and guidance, but kids at camp are responsible for getting themselves up and ready for the day, making their beds, keeping track of their personal belongings, and finding their way to and from the dining hall.

2. The Great Outdoors Prevails to Electronic “Time Suckers”
Camp is a perfect way to get kids outside and active! With so many inside distractions, it can be hard to pull kids away from their cell phones and Wii’s long enough to see the sun. At camp, kids trade their button pushing and joystick maneuvering for rock climbing, mountain biking, ropes course challenges and more!

3. There’s a Leader in Every Kid
The camp setting is a small community unlike any other. The unfamiliar setting, new people, and shortened time together help kids make friends and bond. As kids make choices and direct projects, their leadership instincts progress. They learn to get along with others and become self-reliant without parents there to save the day.

4. I Can Do Anything! Camp, the ultimate self-esteem boost.
For many kids, camp is their first time away from mom, dad, and their extended family. This can be a huge boost to their self-esteem. Summer camp is a place where children can express themselves, discover their own abilities and mature through experiences that challenge them to discover resilience and good decision-making.

See if your child is ready for a sleep away adventure with this camp readiness assessment. Just know if they are not ready for life at camp, don’t push them. It’s better to wait a year then spoil the experience for years to come.

Emily Smith is the CMO for Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada. Membership in Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada is open to all girls 5-17 years-old. For more information on Girl Scouts, Camp Foxtail call (702) 385-3677 or visit girlscoutsnv.org .