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 into the Great Outdoors and developing important life skills not always found in the school environment.
Summer camp provides opportunities for Success, New Skills, Planning, Cooperation, Problem Solving, Creativity, Leadership and Happiness – important components of the 21 Century Skill Set for success. We do this in an environment free of electronics, especially video games and smart phones. 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.
In 2004, Dr. Peter Scales updated his research to reveal Eight Developmental Needs for kids to thrive: support, empowerment, boundaries/expectation, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competency, and positive identity. Summer camp is one of the few institutions which provides all eight.
Childhood has changed since our parents and grandparents grew up. It could be argued it has become more stressful in many ways– filled with screen time, test centric school days and full of pressure to excel. Summer 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. There are no report cards – not even homework. With plenty to do and area to do it, camp is almost an ideal world.
Kids need summer camp. Kids need to be kids in a healthy environment, with freedom to learn and grow about themselves and their world. And at La Junta, we feel that Boys need a time and place to be Boys.