Going to overnight summer camp can actually do as much as or more to prepare a young man for college or university than education itself. Besides the fact that camp is much more enjoyable than school, the experience does more when it comes to personal development. And while camp may not offer a conventional report card or grades, there’s nothing quite like the experience. In fact, both camp professionals and adolescent psychologists agree that when young people are away from home for an extended period of time they will acclimatize to campus life much easier.
Young men who have experienced overnight camp are far more likely to have highly developed personal skills. After years of summer camp, they have learned how to problem solve, conflict resolution, and social interaction. Importantly, many veteran campers are skilled at interacting with a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. Young men who have summer camp experience are simply more prepared when they arrive at college or university. They have fewer issues in terms of self-sufficiency, and they have less difficulty interacting with their fellow students.
For most students, post secondary schooling requires sharing a dormitory, bathroom, or even a bedroom with a stranger. Many are accustomed to only engaging with friends of the same race, ethnicity, or economic class – the new “stranger” dorm mate situation can often pose as a challenge. For those who went to overnight camp, this is all routine – they interacted and communicated within a diverse environment for entire summers growing up. So being exposed to a social environment similar to the camp environment is commonplace. In short, experienced overnight campers tend to be better prepared.
When asked, college students acknowledged that their summer overnight camp experience was an asset in preparing them for leaving home base and entering campus life. In simple terms: camp helped with building friendships, developing personal independence, and engaging with those who were different. This was very apparent for first year college/university students, because their social skills were already well developed through camp. They were not uncomfortable to meet and socialize with other students, and make new friends.
Many campers often reflect back on camp as a training ground for life skills. This was life away from home - a new environment, out of the regular comfort zone, and with new experiences at every turn. For many young men, summer camp actually set the stage for their future: how they approached campus life, how they managed their education process, and the various choices they made going forward. For parents, the decision to send their son to overnight summer camp has proven itself over the years to be the right choice, the best choice.
In deciding which summer camp is right for your son, it’s wise for parents to work together with their child, beginning at an early age. Some child psychologists believe that grade three is the right time to introduce your son to overnight camp. Here, it’s important to match camp philosophy with your son’s personality, and to ensure that program activities and camp specialties address your son’s interests and needs.
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