9 great reasons to send your teen to camp
Published: April 26, 2019
By: Kerrie McLoughlin
Summer camp is a good place to send elementary-age kids so they aren’t sitting around the house bored and so they’ll make friends and learn new things while having fun. As kids grow out of their “little kid years,” parents sometimes forget that they still need the kinds of experiences they had when they were younger, just in a different form.
Maybe you don’t think your teen needs summer camp. Your teen should be babysitting, mowing lawns, working at the pool, hanging around with friends, right? Well, sure. But for a break this year, why not send them for a week or more of summer fun and learning?
Here are some great benefits for teens attending either sleep-away or day camp:
- Learning how to give back. Community service camps offer a great chance for teens to make a difference helping out while also learning skills that will carry them through their lives. Kids get to spend their days helping others, which just feels good to everyone involved. Teens could learn how to pack food for the homeless, teach kids how to read or work on a project that will benefit the community, like cleaning up a playground or fixing equipment. They could care for a yard for an elderly person or learn how to paint a house or even to plan and build a house for someone in need.
- Making new friends. It’s important to continue to grow and change, and adding new friends to one’s life enriches it at any age. Many teens attend the same camps every summer and reacquaint themselves with the same friends year after year. And many are attending for the very first time and need to hone their social skills to get to know other
kids in their age range outside of a school setting. At camp, being in close proximity for days or weeks helps kids get closer, faster.
- Learning new things. Whether your teen attends a camp to learn more about horses, a specific sport or anything else, he will have an entire day, week or longer to focus on and immerse himself in that one activity. Who knows? Your teen might find a new passion that he never even thought of that could be helpful in his future educational or work life.
- Deepening their faith. If your teen enjoys church youth groups and activities, an organized religious or church camp might just be the ticket. Her day could begin with a church service, then a hike and some time spent in the cabin with friends memorizing Bible verses for a competition at the end of the week. Later there could be singing songs around a bonfire while roasting s’mores.
- Developing a hobby. When your child is unplugged from the TV, video game or smartphone, he can really focus on developing a hobby in a creative way. It seems like these days there’s a camp for pretty much any interest a kid might have: animal-lovers, sports-lovers of all types, tech lovers… the list goes on.
- Working as a team. Your child will meet kids of different ages and from different backgrounds. Learning how to get along and work as a team is a huge life skill that will be reinforced at camp. Some camps even have kids do team-building
and trust activities to help them get to know each other.
- Staying active. Forget sitting around doing “screen time” all day during summer. When teens attend summer camp, they often forget all about those things and focus on having fun with their friends going on hikes, paddle-boating, swimming and more. They get bonus activity points if they choose a camp targeted to a sport.
- Standing on their own. Let’s face it, as kids get older they start to grow away from us. They are simply preparing to head out on their own, and they are also preparing us for that transition by perhaps being a little distant. They are in between childhood and adulthood, and it’s a confusing time. Going away to camp for even a short period helps teach them independence. There is a daily structure at camp that they need to follow. Parents aren’t the ones doing the nagging, so teens don’t tune it out, while respecting other adults and learning from them.
- Appreciating everything. Away from screens (yes, again), it’s easier to focus on nature, learning, forming relationships and more. Being away from parents, kids will come home with a new appreciation for what it takes to be in a family and help out in the running of the household. Your teen will probably also appreciate funny things like a full pantry that’s open all day, their comfy bed and privacy!
Teen summer camp has so many benefits that cover all the bases: physical, social, mental and spiritual. As for the rest of the summer? Well, your teen can spend plenty of time doing those odd jobs to help pay for camp next year!