Are there benefits to sending your kids to day camp programs? We came upon a great article in Psychology Today: How Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient. In his research, Canadian Psychologist Michael Unger discovers that day camps are “perfect places to help children optimize their psychosocial development.”
This is what makes the Laurus Crew so passionate about what we do! Day Camp isn’t just a place for kids to spend their summers—it’s a collection of positive and novel experiences that, in the long run, help kids prepare for adulthood. How? Dr. Unger identifies seven (7) ways that Day Camp helps children develop valuable life skills.
1. Day Camp fosters new relationships
It’s Day Camp’s most rewarding challenge: making new friends. Bonding with a new set of peers (with the help of some great counsellors) is a perfect way for kids to get out of their comfort zone and develop social skills. In addition to meeting new kids, Campers also benefit from meeting new trusted adults other than their parents—“just think of how useful a skill like that is: being able to negotiate on your own with an adult for what you need.”
2. Day Camp helps children build confidence
Day Camp offers children the opportunity to excel in something that they are good at. This helps kids build an identity and feel confident around their peers. Here at Laurus, our STA program is all about giving kids the chance to try something new, or do something they already know they love. Either way, we can attest to Dr. Unger’s claim that “a good camp counsellor is going to help your child find something to be proud of that she can do well.”
3. Day Camp helps children feel in control of their lives
Whether taking home an art project, playing capture the flag, or making a new friend, self-efficacy is central to the camper experience. It’s what we strive for at Laurus. In the long term, Dr. Unger notes that “children who experience themselves as competent will be better problem-solvers in new situations.”
4. Day Camp is a place where kids are treated fairly
Day Camp is a great environment for kids to make new friends in part because they’re free from the baggage of their social lives at school. It’s a fresh start for kids to just “be kids who are valued for who they are.” Furthermore, Day Camp offers kids a new social environment for kids to explore under the supervision of caring adults. That’s code for bullying-free zone!
5. Day Camp is good for a child’s physical development
Sitting at a desk during the school year is hard for kids. They need fresh air, exercise, and a balance between routine and unstructured time. Laurus campers know we’ve got them covered for that all summer!
6. Day Camp offers kids a chance to feel like they belong
Here at Laurus, we always start the week off with a team cheer. It’s more than just an opportunity to get goofy—these bonding activities foster a “sense of common” that goes a “long way to offering children a sense of being rooted.”
7. Camps give children a sense of their culture, and an opportunity to interact with different ones
One of Dr. Unger’s most interesting findings about Day Camp is that it helps children feel rooted in their own cultures and communities. Last summer, our campers met Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, and Judy Martin from the Bell Fund. All three are models of Canadian values: innovation, leadership, compassion. Laurus is also lucky to have campers from all over the world. This is invaluable opportunity for our campers to understand others with different cultural roots from their own.
Did we mention that Day Camp is also just plain fun? Thoughts? Questions? Comment below!
We hope you are all enjoying the new year!