It’s no secret that the past few years have shaken up everything from our daily routine to long-term goals. The way we communicate, travel, spend time with others, and much more has ebbed and flowed between “new normals” that have taken shape in response to an emphasized spotlight on public and personal health in the wake of COVID-19. While all age groups have been impacted in drastic ways, children, in particular, have had a peculiar go at it; social distancing measures, remote learning, and a lot more time spent at home seem to inherently go against the grain of what it is to be a child. The typical period of adolescence typically inundated with curious exploration, friend-making, and most importantly, fun has something of an asterisk on today’s youth.
At Camp Keystone, our staff stands by the value of children attending our summer day camp programs in Agoura Hills, CA. Its wide array of benefits is truly undeniable, which is why we work diligently to create a haven for kids to participate in their favorite activities, build self-confidence, and develop relationships along the way. While these benefits are timeless in and of themselves, summer camp for children emerging in a post-pandemic climate is more important now than ever.
Social Cues and Interpersonal Growth
There’s always a handful of campers that haven’t broken out of their shell quite yet — and we strive for them to break the mold here at Camp Keystone. However, after years of essentially being cooped up inside all the time, we noticed a more pronounced reservation across the board — and who can blame them? These formative years are crucial for developing social cues and relationships that help them not coexist with one another, but form an understanding of their peers, how to behave with them, and of course, how to have fun with others.
In late childhood and adolescence, children are determining how to form friendships beyond proximity and play, though. They are beginning to find and provide support to their friends and nurture the skills necessary to build trusting relationships. Shared interests are a crucial part of this. Fortunately, our summer camp’s activities and programs at large are designed to bring out the best in these budding developments.
Goodbye, Screentime. Hello, Nature!
Screen time for children has skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. While this isn’t all recreation — as even the idea of “going to school” involved sitting in front of a screen, for most — it’s indicative of a generation that’s had a considerably heavier exposure to video games, social media, and the internet in its entirety. In one study conducted in early 2021, parents expressed concerns about the addictive nature of screen time as well as the lack of physical activity that came along with it. According to the Mayo Clinic, too much screen time can be linked to all sorts of drawbacks for children, including everything from obesity and irregular sleep to poor academic performance and behavioral problems.
Camp Keystone, however, believes in the importance of “disconnecting.” With an environment free of this sort of virtual distraction — ushering children to draw entertainment and fulfillment from spending time with one another — children are given the space to step away from the screens that have dominated their school and free time.
Teamwork and Sportsmanship
The pandemic grinded social activities to a halt, including sports leagues and other team-building activities that are commonplace for children. These sorts of lifestyle extracurriculars — whether through school districts, travel teams, or community groups — are imperative for children not only because it’s a fun physical outlet but because it instills values of teamwork and sportsmanship. These are the kinds of skills that they carry with them throughout their lifetime, including college, personal goals as they grow older, and their career. As COVID-19 repealed any meaningful way to participate, it took away the opportunity for children to start off on the right foot or continue to take the next steps in the way anyone would expect them to.
Our summer camp’s activities are intended to be a blast, yes, but they also serve a developmental purpose that falls in line with the idea of coordinating with others to achieve a common goal. To rise above not just tolerating one another, but working with one another and enjoying each other’s company every day.
An Improvement Upon Mental Health
According to a national poll, almost half of parents claim their child or teen had exhibited signs of a new — or worsening — mental health condition in the midst of the pandemic. Conditions cited include anxiety and depression. 3 in 4 parents even said that the restrictions had impacted their teens’ connections with their friends.
These kinds of findings not only signify how lockdowns and the global pandemic itself affected adolescents mentally but shed light on the fact that parents are picking up on the signs, with many looking for ways to help their children with everything from their mental and emotional wellbeing to self-confidence and sociability. In this way, summer camp is a much-needed reprieve from the prolonged days of isolation.
Are you ready to give your child the summer they deserve? Turn to no other than Camp Keystone! We are always excited to welcome new and returning kids to our programs and look forward to helping them make the most of their most important years with a safe, stimulating, awesome camp. For more information about our camp near Calabasas, CA, reach out to our team today!