Preparing Kids for Adulthood
Being a parent is a huge, scary, overwhelming, and honoring responsibility. If you do it correctly, you are preparing your child to become a thriving, happy, and responsible adult. It’s no small task. In this day, parents have more to worry about than ever before. Is all that screen time damaging their intellect and social skills? Is it even possible to save enough money for college? How do you prepare them for intense standardized testing or rigorous athletic requirements? How do you teach them to be welcoming and accepting of the diversity of people, thought, and experiences around them? Sometimes, the pressure is enough to make you want to throw up your hands and give up.
Teen coach, mentor, counselor, and therapist, Todd Kestin, writes, “There’s more to preparing for adulthood than academic education. I believe if kids spent their summers in camp, they’d be better prepared for later decisions like whether to go to college, and how to make the best life for who they are.”
Sending kids to summer camp won’t solve all of your parenting worries, but it is one important step in teaching them to be independent, well-adjusted, and confident people. Camp does this in a few ways:
First, camp gives kids mentors they can trust who are separate from their parents. While almost every teenager seems convinced that their parents are out-of-touch and uninformed, they don’t have quite the same reaction to their young adult counselors who are modeling good decisions, living a life of faith, and investing in their lives. They can open up about their problems and feelings and find a person who will relate and counsel them through some of the vast and important decisions they have to make as a young person.
Second, camp teaches kids how to grow up and own their decisions, relationships, and actions. Don’t want to shower for three days straight? You’re going to smell. Refuse to make your bed? You might just cost your group the cleanest cabin award. Without a parent looking over their shoulder, kids learn that they have to be (and even more importantly, that they can be) responsible for themselves. They are capable of looking out for themselves and their own well-being, speaking up when they have a question, asking for help when they need it, and investing in important friendships and relationships. The stakes aren’t as high when they are doing this for a week at a time at summer camp, but it goes a long way in preparing them for taking on more independence as they get older, and especially when they are on their own in college or adulthood.
Third, camp inspires authenticity. There are no Instagram filters here. You might have name brand clothes, but everyone is getting muddy in the creek. Wackiness, weirdness, and silliness are encouraged at camp. This is a place where kids can be themselves without boundaries or shame, which is so important as children and youth are navigating who they are and what it looks like to believe in and invest in themselves.
At camp, kids learn how to build and choose valuable friendships. They learn how to make decisions on behalf of themselves and with an understanding of its impact on their group. They grow in confidence. If they choose to join the camp staff, they learn how to lead and model, how to shepherd and guide, and how to give attention to others so that they can be lifted up. They learn responsibility, maturity, and how to give and ask for help.
No matter what your child’s future holds, summer camp can help prepare them to be that thriving, happy, and confident adult you’ve hoped for. Saving for college is so important, but saving for summer camp fees might be just as life-changing. Registration for next summer will open on January 3rd. Check out all of our program offerings here.