If you’re asking yourself why 4 weeks (or longer!), you should ask yourself — “Why Camp?”
There is a purpose behind the structured activities, the zany fun, the daily schedule, special events, sleeping in open-air cabins, and even eating all together in a dining hall.
So, why Camp? Like some of the best things in life, the answer is surprisingly simple.
At Camp a child has the opportunity to experience a series of “wins” that build, one upon another. These wins are their wins — independent of home, family, and school friends. Each win builds upon another bolstering the child’s confidence, self esteem, and courage to take on the next challenge.
Some wins are going to be in an activity, like learning how to tie a sailing knot, or get up on waterskis for the first time. Other wins are going to be less tangible. Making a new friend, learning to be a better friend, working through disagreements, putting someone else before yourself. How about practicing perseverance or developing determination?
The funny thing is children are largely oblivious. Who thinks about learning how to persevere? A kid wants to get the award for archery, or have the freedom to take a sailboat out on their own. They’ll work hard to get what they really want, and no one has to push them!
We provide the opportunities, support them, offer instruction, and encourage them. These are the same things you do at home, but the biggest win is the fact that your child is not at home. When your child accomplishes something, it is solely their win!
Your child is entering into a special community and they need time to get acclimated. They might miss home for a few days – this is normal, even if it is not their first summer away from home. There will be a new rhythm to daily life, the food will be different, and living in a cabin with people from all over the world is probably something your child has not done before. Your child will be trying new things and stepping out of their comfort zone — making new friends and developing a better sense of who they are in the process.
It takes the average new camper one to two weeks to settle in, but after they’ve had time to make a new friend and had some personal wins, they know they’re going to be OK. At that point they’re ready to really have fun, and that’s when the wins start stacking up and the relationships deepen!
The Camp experience only becomes richer from that point. It takes a few weeks for kids to build on what they are learning and turn it into greater accomplishments. For example, most campers may not master their roll in kayaking after only a few lessons. By staying for the four week session, campers are able to more fully take advantage of our program which has a compounding impact on their personal growth.
As a parent myself, I’ve seen my children go through all of this. I received a few teary letters that made me ask myself what I was thinking sending my child away to live with strangers in the woods — yikes, open-air cabins… a bear could just drag my child off in the night!
Then I took a deep breath and reminded myself that my children were strong, I couldn’t protect them from every adversity in life, and honestly I want a little adversity for them. Kids have to grow up, and they do it best when they are on the front lines, making their own decisions.
Camp is a safe environment. We are very careful in the people we choose as counselors, activity instructors, and leaders. Children are impressionable so we want to make sure we model the right behavior!
I could go on and on, but if you’re still reading this and have questions, please pick up the phone! We’re all happy to talk about this, answer your hard questions (yes, someone asked me about bears last week!), and help you think through the best fit and the summer experience you want for your child.
Here are a few more thoughts to consider.
Like I said above, we get it. This is a big decision for you and your child. Shoot me an email or give us call because we’re really happy to talk to you!
PS — First time parents, if you’re looking for a little encouragement, read what other parents have to say.