The Pandemic Has Taken Its Toll. Summer Camp Will Help.
We all know about the great physical benefits that summer camp brings to kids. Being outside in the sunshine where they are moving and active is a great experience for children and youth. However, camp also actively improves the mental health of attendees. At camp, kids experience community, authentic relationships, and friendship. As they turn off their screens and dive into laughter and conversation, we can note positive impacts on their social and emotional well-being.
God created people to be in community. Right from the beginning, in Genesis, we see God look at the first man, Adam, and say, “It is not good that he should be alone.” And so God creates Eve. The pandemic has caused us to live the past year in isolation, limited to virtual interactions and Zoom calls. After this extended period of social distancing, the mental health benefits of summer camp will be more important than ever.
While connecting on Zoom and in virtual classrooms has been a literal lifesaver this year, it doesn’t allow our kids to practice genuine social interaction, reading social cues and body language, or developing empathy for one another. Camp can help kids make up all of the face-to-face interaction that they have missed. At camp, there is no “escape.” They can’t turn off their screen, log out of their account, or mute the speaker. This forces kids to navigate the powerful and deep aspects of friendship and community. They learn to empathize, problem solve, confront, and listen. In a culture that increasingly relies on cancelling or ghosting someone who rubs us the wrong way, camp teaches our kids a healthier approach to relationships.
The increase in screen time and navigating a digital social landscape has taken its toll on the mental health of our children and youth. Families have done their best to navigate the new digital social landscape, lack of activity, and boredom that have resulted from the pandemic. And while there is more of that still to come, summer camp can be the light at the end of the tunnel. We can get through these difficult things together, knowing that the promise of summer camp awaits us.
We look forward to having you back at camp again with us and to the mental boost we can provide to all of our campers and families in summer 2021!