Teens and the day camp experience
Older kids reap health and education benefits — and it’s affordable
When it comes to day camp, it’s a win-win for parents and teens.
Day camp provides a platform for teens to learn life lessons they don’t learn in school. Teens who actively participate can improve their physical, social and mental health. Healthy social interaction occurs in age-appropriate group settings and through engaging activities. Also, day camps allow affordable options for busy working parents.
Parents will do just about anything for their children. That’s why there is a market for private schools, sport specialization opportunities and programs that focus on teaching kids specific skills and knowledge.
Parents often associate skill-specific knowledge with success. It makes sense, but if ask an employer what they look for in a potential employee, they often list attributes such as leadership ability, communication skills, dependability, independence, and their ability to work as part of a team.
Questions such as “how are your defensive skills on the court?” or “can you solve differential equations without a calculator?” are left out. Being a well-rounded person is as important as book learning or the abilities developed in skill-specific programs. Through various activities and programs at day camp, such as teamwork challenges, day camps offer teens opportunities to develop life skills.
Day camp gives teens the opportunity to improve their physical, social, and emotional health.
One game of dodgeball and your teen is well on their way to meeting the World Health Organization’s recommended daily activity levels. One lunch period and your teen has interacted socially with their peers. One adventure course where your teen overcomes an obstacle with the help of his/her peers and your teen is emotionally supported and engaged. Offering daily opportunities for improved health is one of the core values a day camp can provide your teenager.
As important as the self-improvement aspects of day camp are, the importance of socialization should not be overlooked. Day camps provide a variety and depth of social exposure. Teens at day camp can interact with peers continuously throughout the day improving their various social skills. Although camp activities vary from camp to camp, one factor that is the same is that kids are grouped together with their peers. Your teen is not stuck playing with a much younger sibling or engaged in screen time. When participating in age-appropriate activities with other teens, they are challenged to work together, learn about each other, share interests and create friendships.
Enrolling your teen at a day camp is often cost-effective. Day camps typically offer a variety of activities including arts and crafts, sports, games, adventure, nature, swimming, and other learning opportunities. Any parent who has paid for swimming, tennis, or piano lessons knows the cost of individual instruction adds up quick. The opportunity for engagement and skill development at such a low cost is a win-win.
Kierstin Merlino is the recreation program coordinator for Merrimack Parks & Recreation, Camp Naticook.