Summer camp has many benefits for kids. They gain independence, form friendships, and learn new skills. And although it may not be obvious, camp helps prepare kids for college and beyond. Day camps, as well as sleepaway camps, introduce kids to a world without their parents — one which is nurturing yet challenging, and one which gives kids the skills and psychological advantages that will help them thrive after they leave home.
Campers learn to adapt
Campers have no control over who is in their bunk, or if their friends will return the following summer. Each year, they must find a way to accept their assignments and adapt to new situations. This experience is mirrored in college when students must figure out how to navigate a new world. And it turns out that kids who went to camp are much better prepared when these challenges arise in college.
Campers gain confidence
Unlike many schools, camps like Staten Island Academy Day Camp create a judgment-free community. Campers are encouraged to explore new activities and counselors are trained to help campers keep trying until they succeed. This instills a confidence in kids that carries over into the rest of their lives. A young person who feels good about themself is less likely to make poor choices because they feel a sense of accomplishment in rising to the developmental challenges that face them. This will stay with them throughout their school years and beyond.
Campers become resilient
The first week of camp is full of unknowns: Who are these counselors? What are these traditions? Where do I go? Who will be my friends? Will I be successful? Similar questions and challenges will arise in college as well. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids are encouraged to confront and overcome this uncertainty—whether it’s in an enrichment camp like Engineering Using Legos or the Talented and Gifted Program. This resiliency will make the next uncertainty easier to handle.
Campers embrace and learn from diversity
Camp not only introduces kids to people who are different from them, it also celebrates those differences. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids learn that diversity widens their comfort zones and broadens their minds. Also, because the staff is so inclusive, kids tend to become fast friends, which will make that first day of college freshman orientation a lot easier and more familiar.
Campers gain a strong sense of self
There are kids who will jump at the chance to be in the annual camp show and others who shy away from the spotlight. There are athletes, artists, intellects, comedians—and they all attend Staten Island Academy Day Camp, where all campers are encouraged to discover who they really are and are praised and rewarded for that process. These kids will take that strong sense of self with them—back to school and onwards to college.
Campers practice being away from home
Camp helps kids adjust to being away from home by giving them practice being away from home. Campers, often as young as kindergarten or first grade, get to experience being separated from their parents while still being nurtured and cared for. Homesickness, even at day camp, is natural, and getting through that discomfort with the help of a counselor or friend is an empowering experience for a child of any age. When homesickness happens at college, campers will know there’s always someone to help—whether it’s a roommate, friend, professor, or advisor.
It can be a tough decision to send your child to summer camp—especially during the uncertainties of the pandemic. But camp will not only provide a fun and enriching experience, it will also help kids become more equipped to deal with the challenges ahead of them.