It’s tough to be a kid these days. It’s tough to be a parent. In a society where the nature of the family, the work place, and the community have changed dramatically, we can no longer assume that the natural process of growing up will provide children the experiences and the resources they need to become successful, contributing adults. We are in a climate where it is harder to know what we need to survive, so drawing on experiences that give children healthy alternatives and opportunities to instill capabilities, the hallmarks of thriving, is the greatest gift you can give a young child.
Camp provides one of the very few links with a world larger than the consumer culture we inhabit, and day camp is one important choice in a quiver of options. The camp experience helps children and youth develop an appreciation of their place and their responsibility in a much larger universe. A preschooler — or even an older child who might be reluctant to go to overnight camp — can join a community that is created especially for her to practice growing up. Why wait until age 10 when the benefits of feeling connected and being able to contribute and navigate at an earlier age can be reaped? Under the supervision of inspiring guides and passionate coaches, children can feel successful and make new friends while having the time of their lives; they can experience belonging and contribution; they can have a sense of consistency and predictability in times of turbulence and change.
One day camp parent said, “While my children and I are constantly bombarded by the news which is focused on what is wrong with the world, camp is a living example of what is right.”
Camp is reminiscent of less complicated days, when people connected with nature, thrived on inter-generational relationships, and made new discoveries. Everything is designed and scaled to ensure that children feel included, cared about and capable. Beginning camp at an early age provides important advantages. Camp is the best demonstration of moral and spiritual order — democracy is the core purpose. Children learn life skills and behaviors that become habits of the heart.