What's more exciting than an overnight adventure or a camp? Being away from home means new friends, new challenges, new skills and lots of fun!
We've asked our friends from the Exploration Society, specialists in outdoor adventures, about the benefits of overnight camps for children. Read on to find out why outdoor adventures are great for your brave explorers.
On the surface, the daily play, interaction with other children, learning about nature and having fun doesn’t sound all that different to a day at school. At the camp, the children are taken out of the comfort zone usually offered by schools, extracurricular activities or a familiar home setting. However, camps provide a unique, structured environment, unique in setting and style, providing various opportunities for children to grow in self-confidence, learn new skills, become independent and increase their friends’ network.
1) New skills
At a camp, children get a chance to try things they might not usually have access to in their usual set up. Whether it’s building a bivouac and sleeping under the stars, cooking on a campfire or getting into a canoe in a distraction-free environment, the young explorers can give everything a good chance and you never know, they might just find their new favourite thing!
The roles assumed by young campers at various points during the term time are varied: students, children of parents, grandchildren, team-mates etc. Upon entering an outdoor adventure, all of these roles disappear and the children have a unique opportunity to create their own identity, re-invent themselves. There is a whole new group of fellow campers for them to interact with, cooperate on group activities, form new relationships and lasting friendships. Summer camp boosts their confidence by providing various interesting impulses and situations on a daily basis.
3) New kind of friendships
The children attending our camps find their ‘tribe’, their friends based on common interests, bound by experiences shared and memories made. This is a very common feedback we get from our campers. The activities they partake in making it easy for friendships to form – since they’ve jumped ‘straight in’ with a group of like-minded peers. The friends made in this way have a potential to last for a lifetime, as the young explorers will always associate that particular moment with their friends and if the same or similar were to occur again, they will have their ‘tribe’ to call on.
4) Independence and self-empowerment
Without Mum and Dad around to make the decisions on their behalf, at the camp the children truly become adept at the independent thought and decision-making process. They understand what goes into making a good decision and what the repercussions are of making a bad one. Additionally, they will have a group of peers to lean on, should they require additional support and feedback. This gives them a greater sense of empowerment and helps to grow in the independence of thought and action.
5) Greater appreciation and gratitude
An overnight outdoor adventure will give a chance to compare the settings and set up a child has at home to the one at the camp, away from known. The simple method of comparison and reflection will make them appreciate and be grateful to the parents and also to their guardians at the camp for everything that’s been given to them (or they take for granted) on a daily basis. Some of our parents say their children come back more mature as if they’ve grown up in the short time at the camp – which is also a happy side effect of their time at the camp! We love exploring the great outdoors and seeing the discovery and joy in our campers’ faces!