In this time of increased stress and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for adults to promote and support children’s psychological well-being. Summer camp can play a big role in that. According to experts, summer camp is one of very few childhood activities that can help children develop physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and morally. More specifically, summer camp offers the following benefits for children’s psychological well-being.
Improved Social Skills
Summer camps bring together youth of all ages and stages, which means they provide plenty of opportunities for children to interact with people who may be very different from themselves. By introducing children to different cultures, ideologies, and ways of living, summer camps encourage youth to become more open-minded and accepting.
By connecting children who might not have otherwise met each other, summer camps provide opportunities for youth to create lifelong friendships. Together, these factors enable children to develop strong social support systems which they may rely on for help in overcoming mental & emotional struggles.
In addition, many summer camp activities are team-based, thus allowing children to practice social skills such as leadership and followership, compromise, and problem-solving. These skills both aid children in the development of social bonds and help them become more capable and confident.
Overall, summer camps foster a sense of belonging for their participants, promoting connection and discouraging feelings of loneliness and isolation. The importance of peer support through shared experiences should not be underestimated.
As previously mentioned, summer camp group activities can help children become more confident in their own abilities. However, this is far from the only aspect of summer camp that promotes increased confidence and self-esteem.
In addition to engaging youth in team-based activities, many summer camps allow children opportunities to explore their own unique interests. For example, specialty programs such as art camps and STEM camps are becoming increasingly popular, and even “general” summer camps often allow children free time to pursue activities that catch their attention. By giving youth chances to engage in self-directed tasks, summer camps facilitate subject mastery which leads to improved self-esteem.
Additionally, summer camps also encourage their participants to develop growth mindsets. According to scientific research, there are two types of mindsets with which individuals may approach life: fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. An individual with a fixed mindset will see each challenge as a roadblock that cannot be overcome, while an individual with a growth mindset will see each challenge as a puzzle to solve. As such, an individual with a fixed mindset is more likely to give up when faced with a problem, whereas an individual with a growth mindset will possess the grit necessary to resolve the situation.
Because summer camps allow children to practice overcoming difficult (but solvable) problems, they push youth to replace fixed mindsets with growth ones. Much like subject mastery, this also leads to improved self esteem.
Summer camps improve children’s psychological well-being by actively working to reduce their stress levels. Most summer camps involve a wide variety of outdoor activities. Because being outside can help reduce stress levels, this alone can reduce children’s mental strain and improve their psychological well-being. Similarly, exercise is also a great way to relieve stress, and most summer camp programs involve exercise in spades.
Furthermore, some summer camps may teach participants healthy coping mechanisms such as positive self-talk, meditation, and mindfulness. As such, summer camp can help reduce children’s stress levels both in the short term and in the long run.
Finding the Right Camp for Your Child
If you’re looking for a way to improve your child’s social skills, self-esteem, and stress management abilities, then summer camp might be the right choice for you and your family. Here at Camp Keystone, we combine learning, friendship, and fun to create a camp experience that is truly unforgettable.
We’ve been serving kids and their families in the Agoura Hills, CA area for over 25 years, and we would love to welcome you and your child into our community of happy campers. So give us a call today to find out how your family can get involved in the best summer camp this side of the Santa Monica Mountains!