Ten things you never knew about camp
by Staff Writer
And while most people easily conjure up images of campfires and canoes, there is a lot more to the camp experience. Here are 10 of the things you may not have known about the camp experience.
10. Camp is older than dirt, almost literally.
The camp experience turned 150 years old in 2011. The secret behind the longevity? “Camps are constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of today’s families,” said Peg Smith, CEO for the American Camp Association. “Yet camp is very much the same as it was 150 years ago. Kids still have authentic, life-changing experiences.”
9. Camp is worth its weight in gold.
The camp experience is life-changing – developing friendships and memories that last well beyond the final campfire. And there is a camp for every budget. Often camps offer special pricing or financial assistance, and some camp experiences qualify for tax credits or for payment with pre-tax dollars. Visit www.CampParents.org/affording-camp for more information.
8. Green is zen.
Research shows that first-hand experience with nature reduces stress in children and help them better handle stress in the future. In addition to teaching children how to be good stewards of the environment, camps are teaching children how to enjoy the world around them and take a minute to breathe deep and feel the nature, which ultimately teaches them how to de-stress the natural way.
7. Mommies and Daddies do it, too.
Camp is not just for children and youth. Adults benefit from the same sense of community, authentic relationships and self-discovery that children do. Camp is an excellent vacation option, allowing adults to try a variety of new activities in a safe and fun environment.
6. Try this on for size.
Camp is a great place to try new activities and hobbies. Afraid of rock walls? According to American Camp Association research, 74 percent of campers reported that they tried new activities at camp that they were afraid to do at first. Those activities often leave lasting impressions. In the same survey, 63 percent of parents reported that their child continued new activities from camp after returning home.
5. Manners matter and often linger.
The camp experience teaches more than just archery or lanyard making. The experience is made of teachable moments. Perhaps one of the biggest is how to live with a group of people. Campers learn to pick up after themselves, respect each other’s property and to say “please” and “thank you.”
4. Veggies taste better with friends.
Hollywood and fictional novels may have given camp food a bad reputation, but camps are constantly exploring healthy food options and often are at the forefront of things like allergy specific diets, healthy snack options and vegetarian meals. According to the American Camp Association’s 2011 Emerging Issues survey, 90.7 percent of responding camps indicated that healthy eating and physical activity was important or very important.
3. If everyone else went to camp, maybe there’s something to it.
Camp has played an important role in the lives of some of the most talented people in history. The American Camp Association’s family resource site offers a list of notable campers – including business professionals, celebrities, artists and great thinkers.
2. Camp gets neurons pumping.
The education reform debate and concern over summer learning loss have pushed academic achievement into the spotlight. Research shows that participation in intentional programs during summer months helps stem summer learning loss. Camp also provides ample opportunity for developmental growth, which is a precursor to academic achievement. Children who struggle in traditional education settings tend to do well at camp due to its hands-on nature.
1. Camp builds leaders for the 21st century and beyond.
Independence, resiliency, teamwork, problem-solving skills and the ability to relate to other people — these are the skills that tomorrow’s leaders will need and the skills camp has been adept at building for 150 years. “Tomorrow’s leaders will not be those who can type or text with lightning speed, they will be those who can have a face-to-face conversation and articulate their thoughts, ideas and values,” Smith said. “Tomorrow’s leaders will be able to relate globally and find common ground with people who are vastly different from themselves — people from different backgrounds and cultures. Tomorrow’s leaders will be made and educated by experiences like camp.”
Reprinted by permission of the American Camp Association ®. ©2012 American Camping Association, Inc.