Why would anyone send his or her kids away for a few weeks to summer camp? I mean – is it really worth it? For those parents who’ve already been sending their kids to summer camp, this may seem like a silly question. For parents who are looking at summer camp for the first time, I think it’s a great question. Here are 7 reasons to send your child to summer camp:
1. Going to summer camp allows your child to unplug from technology (benefits of being outdoors).
Quite possibly the biggest benefit to an outdoor summer camp is shutting off your cell phone, closing your laptop, and getting away from technology. At Camp, Facebook turns into real faces and authentic human interaction -something we all desperately need. A recent study by Neilson Media Research showed that teenage girls send and receive an average of 4,000 texts per month. Also, according to Nielsen, kids ages 2-5 average more than 32 hours a week in front of a TV. This is a bit scary considering the U.S. Department of Education found academic achievement drops sharply for children who watch more than 10 hours a week of TV. Camp is an instant remedy to this ever growing “technology epidemic.” At Camp Huawni, things like cane pole fishing are an integral part of what makes Huawni special and non-techy.
2. Going to summer camp allows your child to be around positive role models who have a substantial impact on your child’s decision making throughout the year.
How many times do you wish your oldest child had an older sibling to encourage, guide, and mentor them? Better yet, how many times do you wish your older children would actually invest emotionally into their little brother and sisters as opposed to being "too cool?” One of the biggest benefits to summer camp is having positive high school and college-aged counselors who play a vital role into pouring their time and love into the kids. Even though summer camp usual only lasts from one to six weeks, those few weeks of getting to hang out with a positive role model can have a huge impact throughout the year. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice found that when youth have role models, such as in their Big Brother/Big Sister program, their chances of initiating drug use dropped by 45.8% and their tendency to lie to their parents dropped by 36.6%. At Camp Huawni, we make it a point to keep our camper to counselor ratio low (3 campers to every 1 counselor) so that our counselors can invest more time and make this difference. In fact, a good number of our counselors keep in touch with campers throughout the year, continuing to pour into the kid’s encouragement and guidance.
3. Going to summer camp allows your kids to enjoy the simple things in life.
One of Camp Huawni’s core values is “Simple fun is the most fun.” You would be amazed at how much fun kids can have mud sliding, eating and being submerged in watermelon, and diving head first into a plate of whip cream and pickles. Big, new, and state-of-the-art activities are great, but over the years I’ve come to observe that simple things with people you love end up being the most fun.
4. Going to summer camp allows your child to spread their independent wings.
Last summer we had a seven-year-old boy who was away from home for the very first time. In fact, he still slept in the same room with his mother. The first few days of Camp were tough for him – he was super homesick. Thankfully we’ve had nearly 50 years of alleviating homesickness, so after four days we helped the little guy kick his homesickness. Over the next several days, we literally saw the boy transformed; he engaged new kids in conversation, he became willing and excited about contributing to his Tribal Competition team, and you could see his spirit take on a big dose of independence. When his mom showed up on closing day, he exclaimed, “Mom, I want to come back for two weeks next year. And can I stay in my own room?” This was a huge first step in growing his independent wings.
5. Going to summer camp allows children to experience nature in a whole new way.
How many days do you spend each year watching a sunrise or sunset? How many times do you just sit on a hill and feel the breeze cross your face? How many weekends do you take out of the year just to be alone in nature? For those who do this or have done this, you know how special this is. At Camp Huawni, one of our core beliefs is true personal growth begins and ends with our Creator. At Camp, just being in nature allows us to see and hear God so much clearer.
6. Going to summer camp allows your children to grow closer to their siblings.
At Camp Huawni, we have a traditional ceremony at the end of Camp where kids get to speak their heart. Tears are shed, smiles are had, and you leave that afternoon feeling lighter and full of joy. Without a doubt, every year a brother or sister will honestly and openly share their affection for their siblings. Many times it is the first time they’ve openly told their sibling that they love them. This is such a special moment for the kids, and as siblings return to Camp you see them growing closer and closer.
7. Going to summer camp allows your children to develop life-long friendships and memories second to none.
In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. I still remember my very first year at Camp Huawni. Charlie King and Andrew Clendenen were in my cabin, and over the next several years we shared life together, eventually becoming senior counselors together. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed – when I get to spend time with both Chuck and Andrew, we have an immediate connection. I also know that if I ever need anything, those guys will be there to help in an instant. Camp is the fertilizer for true friendship.
Would you like to hear more reasons why to send your child to summer camp? I would be happy to answer any questions. Feel free to email me here