Five benefits of attending sleep-away camp

Day camps are a summer staple for many families, but sleep-away camps provide an iconic outdoor setting with a wealth of ways to help children grow, expand their horizons, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Here are five benefits to sending your child to residential camp this summer:

1. Foster independence.

Residential camp is an ideal place to learn independent living and self-responsibility. Out from under their parents’ shadow, campers are expected to get up, go to bed, and attend scheduled events on time, as well as keep their cabin area clean. And for those who have never spent the night away from their parents, it enables them to embrace the experience as their own, without having to filter it through what Mom and Dad think or feel.

2. Practice kindness.

Sleep-away camp is a good way to put character-building skills learned at home into practice. Here, kids have an opportunity to show empathy toward others in need, such as sharing shampoo or toothpaste with someone who forgot a toiletry item, or extending kindness to a camper who feels left out.

3. Make diverse friendships.

The residential camp community is the perfect platform for children to step outside their normal social circle and forge friendships with kids from other parts of the state, country — even the world. And with the widespread use of electronic communication, it’s easier than ever for these friendships to continue to grow long after camp is over.

4. Venture out.

Many sleep-away camps offer atypical activities that may not be available at day camps, such as overnight hiking trips, mountain boarding, wilderness adventures, etc. Activities such as these challenge kids to take risks under trained supervision, using appropriate safety gear.

5. Take a tech break.

More often than not, children are instructed to leave their tech devices at home before coming to camp. This can turn into a big bonus, as it gives campers the opportunity to work on other communication skills, such as letter writing, and real “face time” with other campers, as well as ample time to enjoy planned camp activities.

Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.