Benefits of Overnight Camping — By Lily Marcus
Part One: When I first stepped out of my dad’s car I was beyond terrified. I was in this brand new place that I had heard so much about. It was so hyped up, I had heard about the amazing friends, the activities and all the other crazy things someone could do at Beber Camp. Little did I know this place would become one of my favorite places in the world.
Although sending a child to Summer Camp can be beyond terrifying there are so many benefits. One of the best being an ability to give your child a sense of independence. It is so challenging at first but after the first few days being apart it feels totally natural. Of course, I have never been on the parent end of this but I know from a child’s perspective it is very easy to forget and develop relationships. Gaining a sense of independence is a very important part of growing up. Giving up a child for any amount of time whether it be a week or eight can be very scary. As I left for camp I remember my mom was crying, she still does every time and it has been ten years.
Camps can help create a sense of independence because it forces kids to focus on ideas they might not at home. Overnight camps offer so many different opportunities. Whether it be arts and crafts, water skiing, swimming, land sports, or fine arts. All the different options force kids to become independent. Kids have to separate from who they may be at home and learn more about themselves. Since there are so many different options kids can learn what they love to do. I learned I love to do musicals even though I am awful at singing. I do not get the option to do them at home because of my lack of ability to sing but because I can do them at camp it has helped me gain confidence in who I am. It can also help kids learn what they may not enjoy, for me it is arts and crafts. I really dislike arts and crafts. It has always challenged me but I am not patient enough to succeed.
Meals also create a sense of independence. Camp food is comparable to dorm food. It can be good or bad. There are always weird meals that show up on your table. But, this forces kids to find food that they like. You are always starving so you have to eat. Whether it be at the salad bar or a piece of fruit. I have always HATED breakfast except for pancakes and waffles but going to camp forced me to try new foods and learn that Greek yogurt isn’t terrible. Although I had tried it before and disliked it going to camp forced me to give it a second chance. I am much more willing to eat Greek yogurt.
Camp helps kids create a sense of independence through its activities, food, and adaptability. A very important part of Overnight camp whether it be for one or eight weeks is the creation of independence.
Here are two links to two Overnight Camps:
Beber Camp – Bebercamp.com
Camp Chi – CampChi.com
Photos from the Beber Camp website
Part Two: Only two girls from my original cabin are left. I started in 2007 and I have made solid friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. My friends have supported me through thick and thin. I talk to them throughout the year and know they will always be there for me. Through my ten years at camp my friendships have become a very important part of my life.
The girls above helped me develop very important friendships. The girl in the middle wearing a brown shirt is one of my best friends. When I am at camp I tell her everything and I know that she will always listen. Growing up with amazing friends is something all kids should get to experience. At camp kids get the ability to make friends that they would not at home. At overnight camp kids come from around the country to spend four weeks with their best friends. One of my close friends will make trips from Ohio to Illinois to visit her best friends. At my camp we have kids from California, Colorado, New York, Florida, Ohio, Nebraska, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maryland, and Illinois. The kids that travel from different states appreciate camp even more. Because of their deep appreciation it makes camp even more special for the rest of us who might take camp for granted.
Also maintaining and making connections is a very important life skill. Knowing how to connect with someone is incredibly important nowadays. Since people are constantly on their phones or devices the art of face to face conversation has been lost. But, because of camp allowing for kids to run around and spend time with each other either screen free or limited screen allows for them to understand the benefits of talking to people. Talking also helps to build bonds of friendship you might not otherwise get. Saying you are friends with someone because you text them all the time is different than talking to them because you don’t get to know them as well. Going to camp allows for kids to really interact with each other.
Building friendships that will last a lifetime can only happen, in my opinion, if you truly get to know someone. The best way to do that is to spend four continuous weeks with them. Even if you fight you will learn more about each other. My cabin and I fought all the time but in the end we would make up and become closer because of it.
Long term overnight camps can build deep friendships. These friendships can encourage kids to come back to camp year after year because they always want to see their friends. Of course they can talk throughout the year but nothing compares to running around like a maniac with their best friends. Overnight camp has taught me and my friends so much about relationships and learning how to treat people. These lessons you can only get at camp. Friendships are a very important part of growing up and allowing kids to develop into who they will become as people.
Two more links to various camp websites:
Osrui – osrui.org
Camp Edwards – campedwards.org