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Camp in the 21st century

The concept of spending summers out of school exploring the outdoors, honing interests, making friends and learning life skills has been happening for generations. It’s a long-standing tradition that hasn’t changed much – but society has.

In the era of technology literally at our fingertips, providing constant stimulation for children through video games, apps and too many TV shows to count, kids are spending fewer and fewer minutes unplugged and outdoors. It’s clear that children need camp now more than ever.

Spending time at summer camp gives kids a break from technology. Many camps don’t allow the use of personal devices, and a child’s daily routine looks a lot different when factoring out the otherwise hours of screen time. This results in children connecting face-to-face, seeing, learning, taking in their surroundings and not being distracted by responding to a text or checking social media. So much is missed with a head bent down looking at a screen, and escaping to summer camp is a chance to reset.

Summer camp also helps children mature and gain independence. When children spend time away from their parents, they are forced to think for themselves, make their own decisions and assume responsibility. Deciding what to eat for meals, which activities to attend, what time to wake up in order to be on time, etc., is uncharted territory for some children – and it’s healthy for them to map it out on their own. Children also may face challenges such as homesickness or being afraid to do something, in which case it’s okay for them to work through it on their own, find a resolution and bounce back. When facing potential challenges, campers learn to keep positive attitudes, weigh the pros and cons, and find logical solutions.

These steps toward independence are at times difficult in this day in age, but they are healthy and necessary as children grow into adults.

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