The Benefits of Day Camps for Kids
Tony Karls, host of Flourishing Families, sits down with Pat Quin of Cedar Springs Outdoor Adventure Day Camp and the conversation quickly turns to the benefits of a child attending day camp. They discuss how day camps provide the child an opportunity to develop foundations of their character.
Pat Quin tells the story of a young boy, nine years old, that came to their day camp one summer. Amir demonstrated antisocial behavior. He wasn’t talking to anyone. He cried. He even dented the drywall, banging his head against it. Four days later, Amir had become talkative and was excited to get up on a horse. Amir attended the camp many times and eventually became a camp counselor.
For Pat, this success story isn’t unique among the day campers that visit the Slinger, Wisconsin based day camp. “There are a lot of people that had a foundational experience in camp growing up,” Pat says. People of all ages look back on their week of summer camp, and they point out,”It was foundational in their character building growing up. An essential part of their childhood.”
Pat and his team noticed many kids didn’t have access to this type of experience. They wanted to give inner-city kids, kids from impoverished families, and kids that usually spent the summer bouncing between their parents, access to the camp experience. They wanted all kids to have the foundational experience that had helped to shape the character of so many other children.
Children in their formative years need to experience activities that build character. They need to explore a world that provides them with problem solving opportunities, opportunities of friendship, and opportunities to learn resilience and self-esteem.
“Kids need to be able to answer the question, what are you good at?” Pat says to Tony. Culture pushes them in the direction of saying that they are not good at something. “A strength is something that you are good at and passionate about.” Kids need to know what they like. They need to know what they are capable of doing. Without the experiences that challenge them and open them up to these challenges, they can not develop the foundations of their character.
There is something beautiful about leaving home for the first time to head to camp, leaving the every-day of a child’s home life, and entering into the extraordinary world of camp. Camp is where they will meet new friends and develop their routines. Summer day camp provides children with the chance to forge their own identity away from the stress and control of their family lives. There they will develop prosocial skills and learn to be the champion of their own cause.
To put a child into the Cedar Springs Day Camp, to volunteer, or to sponsor a child, check out their website or contact them:
Cedar Springs Outdoor Adventure Day Camp
3128 Slinger Road
Slinger, WI 53086