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Why is Summer Camp so Valuable for Young Boys?

Why summer camp? What is it about time spent in the great outdoors, with all your buddies, fun activities and no parents that could be so important? What is it about riding horses and shooting guns, canoeing the river and hiking the hills that impacts young lives so much? It’s no mystery. The answer of course, is the essence of summer camp.

Getting Away:  With a century-old tradition, youth camps such as Camp La Junta spend the summer months changing young lives. Originally, as urban life grew, camping was simply a way to get city kids out into the country. Camps were loosely organized and very rustic. Travel to places like the Hill Country was difficult, so most camps lasted all summer.

Gathering New and Important Life Skills:  More recently, as life has become more stressful – filled with screen time, test centric school days and full of pressure to excel – camp provides new opportunities and a great balance to the rigors of urban life.  There are no locked doors and alarm system codes to remember. You can play out in the front yard and not worry about drive-bys or pick-ups. Everybody plays and everybody’s important. Nobody sells drugs, or even gives away free samples. There are no Fs — not even any Cs. There’s plenty to do everyday, but no homework. It’s almost an ideal world.  In addition youth camp focuses on and provides opportunities for Success, New Skills, Planning, Cooperation, Problem Solving, Creativity, Leadership and Happiness – the world calls these important components of the 21 Century Skill Set (2) for success.  We do this in an environment free of electronics, especially video games and smart phones.  An average American Student spends 60+ hours each week in front of a screen, thus limiting his time to  develop important life time skills, and some researchers would say, making it harder to be happy (1).

A summer camp experience is an outstanding and secure way for today’s young people to pick up important experiences in self-sufficiency, teamwork, communication and problem solving. These skills are integral with a good camp experience and invaluable to a successful future!

In 2004, Dr. Peter Scales(3) updated his research which revealed the Eight Developmental Needs for kids to grow up and be successful. Summer camp is the only institution which provides all seven – in the same place, at the same time and in a well controlled environment!

Again, Why Summer Camp?  Kids need summer camp. Kids need to be kids; and especially, Boys need a time and place to be Boys.

 

(1) Do smart phones make it more difficult to be happy?

(2) What are 21st Century Skills

(3)  Seven Traits for Successful Development   https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/documents/successfuldevelopment.pdf

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