Parenting with Purpose
“Happy Camper” Strategies that Begin at Home 20 • SanDiegofamily.com • April 2020
Jody Lee Cates
Ask kids why they love camp, and you’ll often hear, “Because it’s FUN!” For many families, camp is an experience where kids have a great time doing things they don’t usually get to do. But benefits of camp reach well beyond learning to surf or petting a dolphin. In a five-year independent study sponsored by the American Camp Association, researchers surveyed past campers, parents and staff about the impact of camp on their lives. Overall, the findings show that kids who attend camp are more optimistic, self-confident, responsible, joyful, and learn skills to relate better to others. Survey participants who were ages 18–25 and attended camp as kids reported that what they learned at camp is helping them thrive in school and the workplace. At a time when learning social skills isn’t as straightforward as it once was, camp helps kids develop relationship skills that have lifelong benefits. Parents don’t have to wait for kids to attend camp to begin creating a transformational culture at home. Here’s how to use camp strategies to benefit your family year-round.