When I look back at the summers of my youth, I think of the smell of the outdoors, of canoeing and horseback riding, of archery and s’mores around a campfire with friends. In a word, I think of camp.
Spending time with positive role models, making in-person social connections, building new skills, developing new knowledge, being exposed to new activities — the list of pragmatic reasons for what children gain from camp is a pretty long one. But let’s take it down to the language of a 10-year-old: It’s fun.
For kids, art is more than just fingerpainting and doodling. It’s their best chance to learn about and express their own emotions, according to some child psychologists.
Whether it’s about living on a college campus or backpacking along the rim of the Grand Canyon, teen-focused camps aim to aid in preparation for life after high school — both in terms of academic preparation and a sense of independence that will be key as those young adults leave home.
As summertime approaches, Maria Shupe and her staff at Highlands Presbyterian Camps and Retreat Center begin their preparations for the throngs of children set to arrive at their picturesque property in Allenspark.
Let’s face it — being a kid can be tough. Bullies like to pick on the shy kids, the geeky kids, those who carry around a few more pounds than the others. All that can take its toll on a child’s self-esteem and confidence. But that doesn’t have to be the case at camp.
With ready access to the outdoors in Colorado, making a “natural connection” may seem secondhand. But even here, kids are increasingly living structured and technology-heavy lives. Engaging in the natural world and enjoying unstructured play are said to be imperative to growth, a sense of wonder and development as tomorrow’s environmental protectors.
Bowing to thunderous applause from proud, camera-wielding parents may just seem like practice for young actors with dreams of Broadway, but for every child, healthy self-esteem is essential to future success. By creating a safe environment, performing arts camps work to cultivate this sense of confidence.
Schmid explains that many public physical education programs are without the budget to provide the equipment and staff needed for disabled kids to participate in many activities and, because of the lack of resources, many of these kids are left sitting on the sidelines. He also notes that the cost of a low-end handcycle starts at $2,000.
There’s a potential, fencing coach Scott Permer acknowledges, for parents to see individual sports camps as a little lonely.