5 Things Summer Camp Has Taught Us
Summer camp is place to have fun, to make friends, and to try new things. However, kids that go to summer camp gain a lot more than just a fun week of their summer. They learn life skills, grow in independence, discover things about themselves, and gain a better understanding of the world around them. As these kids grow up, leave home, get jobs, and start families, the lessons of summer camp will give them a head start on growing into successful, happy, and confident adults. Here are 5 things summer camp has taught us, maybe even without us realizing.
- “Unplugging” is the most freeing feeling in the world. At summer camp, you come without cell phones, without computers, without access to Social Media and email and instant updates. And maybe for the first few hours, or the first few days, you feel the absence of the technology that is usually always at your side. However, as the days and hours pass, you find yourself immersed, not in the lives of everyone around you, shared through posts and tweets and pictures, but in the here and now, enjoying the life you’ve been given and the experiences you’re having.
- Living in community is empowering. It’s a lot easier to get to the top of the rock wall or beat the time trial during canoeing when your friends are there cheering you on. And you don’t feel so alone when you hear everyone else share about their problems and struggles—many of which are the same as your own. When you’re scared or excited or unsure, it’s so wonderful to have a community there to turn to that can lift you up, urge you on, take your hand, and remind you of who you are. Summer camp teaches how important these communities are so that we go out and build them in our work places, churches, schools, and neighborhoods.
- Trying things that scare you make the best memories. Doing the trust fall and counting on your group to catch you can be the most frightening thing, but you’ll never forget the what it was like to lean back and feel their arms there to hold you up. In life, we often have to do things that scare us. And often times, those things offer the most reward.
- We don’t need as many things as we think to be happy. At camp, you can spend hours playing in the creek and the mud, perfectly content and having the time of your life. You fall asleep at night listening to the sound of cicadas and hooting owls, not even caring that there is no electricity in your tent. You walk everywhere, share food family-style with everyone around the table, and everything you need for the day fits in your backpack. We learn to think of things more simply, make our own fun, and appreciate the comforts we have but certainly don’t need.
- Hard work pays off. You might finish drenched in sweat and covered in dirt, but you know that service project you did with your group was totally worth it. Making the climb to the top of the winter tubing hill leaves you out of breath and exhausted, but you’re prepared to do it all over again just to experience the thrill of flying down the hill on a tube. Paddling down the river, climbing the rock tower, hiking to the top of the bluff—it’s all hard work, but it’s all worth it.