The eight best things about camp

Camp is one of the most amazing experiences a child can have, and it goes way beyond just having the chance to swim and play sports all day. It’s hard to narrow down the reasons why camp is so great, but here is a list of the top eight best things about camp:

1Gain skills in a range of activities. At camp, your child will participate in a variety of activities such as ceramics, swimming, go-karts, ropes course, tennis, and more. Each day will be filled with trying new activities that he or she has never done before.

2Build self-esteem. Children acquire new skills at camp and watch themselves improve each day throughout the summer. They are also part of a summer camp community, which is supportive and encouraging. Both help build their self-esteem.

3Unplug from technology. Today more than ever, children need to disconnect from their phones and tablets and focus on face-to-face communication. The majority of summer camps have a no-technology rule, which allows for a much-needed break from screens and more time for true relationship building.

4Reinvention. At home, children have gone to school with the same kids for years and may be labeled as the quiet or the athletic child. Camp is an accepting community where your child can be his true self — or even reinvent himself.

5Meet new people. Camp fosters deep friendships and allows children to meet kids from different communities, as well as from around the world. It gives them the opportunity to relate to people of all ages.

6Independence. Children today are in constant contact with their parents through texting and cellphone calls. Camp allows for a healthy separation from their parents, fostering independence.

7Traditions. Many camps celebrate special traditions and rituals each summer, such as color war, Olympics, and singing songs that have been sung for generations. By partaking in these activities, kids connect to their camp and those who came before them.

8Camp is fun. At camp, children are allowed to play in a safe and nurturing environment, allowing them to just be kids. Play is a powerful form of learning that contributes to a child’s healthy physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.

Jess Michaels is the director of communications for the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the summer camp experience. Parents looking for a camp for their child can contact the organization for free, one-on-one advice in finding a camp at (212) 391–5208.