The Summer Camp Decision

The recession has hit most of us hard—even though they say we’re in a period of recovery. You may be wondering: do I really need to send my kids to summer camp? No one can really answer that question for you. You’re the only one who can weigh the pros and cons and know whether the benefits of camp are worth the cost.

But what you can do is examine the issue from all sides—do your due diligence prior to making your final decision. To that end, here are some of the ways that summer camp can be beneficial to children. Read this piece and then take a look at your bank statement. The rest is up to you.

Camp provides kids with lots of healthy physical activity. We all know that America is struggling with obesity and many of us know that unhealthy lifestyles begin in childhood. Camp is nothing so much as loaded with all-day physical activity. Your kid will have a chance to stretch, use his muscles, and rev up his metabolism. What a terrific anecdote to sitting in a classroom all day long for most of the year!

Camp allows kids to feel successful. At well-organized camps such as the Jewish-themed oorah camps, kids can try out new activities and succeed in them. They learn something new each day and unlike school, it’s not a pressured environment with exams. There’s the thrill of accomplishment and a pat on the back. Kids learn that if they want to succeed, they can.

Camp teaches kids resilience.  The better camps, such as, for instance, Camp Oorah, train counselors to lend encouragement every step of the way as kids dare to learn new skills and activities. Archery, for instance: it takes some time to learn the knack, but it’s not just your kid learning this new skill, but his bunkmates, too. They will all have setbacks and triumphs. They learn to take the setbacks with grace and try again the next day, to never give up: to get back up on the proverbial bike and keep trying.

Camp lets kids unplug. Technology: we love it and we hate it. We can’t get our kids away from it and deep down we just know that’s wrong. It’s bad for them. Camp means losing all the techie stuff and being out in nature.  Now that’s a miracle.

Camp leads to self-discovery. Maybe you never knew your kid had a secret desire to rappel or go white-water rafting. Maybe even your kid didn’t know he wanted to try those things. He may just discover a talent he never knew he had—something he’ll want to enjoy forever. And neither of you would have known about this had he not gone to a camp run by Oorah. Amazing!

Camps teach socialization skills. Kids are who they are at school and at home all year round. They act a certain way because it’s expected of them. At camp, kids learn they can be anyone they want, take on a new nickname and completely different personae. It’s excellent training in learning how to make friends because it allows kids to break free of the mold and try new behaviors on for size.

Camp teaches kids independence. Do your kids stick to you like glue during the year? Do you wonder how they’ll ever manage without you? Camp gives kids a short span of time in which they can test their independence. Can they make it on their own, away from you and all that you do for them on a regular basis? It’s a test, but it’s a time-limited test. It teaches them that yes they can be away from you for a little while and survive quite nicely, thank you.

Camp allows kids to explore specific themes. At Girl Scout Camp, girls may learn about how to become strong independent women, unafraid to face the world. At an Oorah summer camp like The Zone, Jewish kids can learn about their heritage is a non-threatening manner that allows them to see the beauty of their ages old culture. Theme camps help kids really soak up atmosphere, traditions, and skills. These types of summer camps, as opposed to generic kids’ summer camps, lend depth and meaning to a child’s summer and are likely to remain a lovely part of their lives forever. If you’ve often felt like your kid was missing something, here’s the way to put it back into their lives: a themed summer camp.

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