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Lean Into Summer Camp Gains This School Year

Lean Into Summer Camp Gains This School Year

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

It’s not unusual for kids to groan and grouch a bit about going back to school each fall — and along with them, their parents, who may worry that summer learning loss or “backsliding” could keep their children from starting the school year off on the right foot. However, attending summer camp can take much of the pain out of the new school year for all involved.

Summer camps provide children and teens with essential opportunities for physical, social, creative, and developmental growth. From enhancing sports skills to learning how to get along with others, the lessons learned at camp can translate directly into newfound strengths in the school setting. As a parent, you can play a key role in ensuring that all these important summer camp benefits are not only retained, but actively help your child flourish throughout the school year. Here’s how:

Social Growth

At Camp: Summer camps promote teamwork, communication, and empathy, helping children forge lasting friendships and understand the perspectives of others. They do this through a wide variety of activities — from competitive sports to kitchen duty — and by teaching elements of good character.

School Connection: These improved social skills can lead to better collaboration in group projects and encourage your child to foster a more empathetic and inclusive classroom environment. They also prepare kids to succeed in extracurricular activities of all kinds. The kicker? Strong social skills can help kids form more and stronger friendships.

What You Can Do: Compliment your child or teen on their newfound social skills and remind them to keep in touch with the friends they’ve made at camp to help them maintain and build a strong social network. However, you should also encourage them to try new extracurriculars at school. Doing so is the gift that keeps on giving, as the benefits of extracurricular activities include:

Physical Growth

At Camp: Summer camp exposes kids to an astonishingly wide variety of physical activities and challenges that they may otherwise never get the chance to try. This can include swimming, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, and a variety of other sports. The low-pressure and emotionally supportive environment allows kids to not only enhance their motor skills, coordination, and overall physical fitness, but to discover their recreational interests — and get better at doing them, all without fear of failure.

School Connection: This means your child will not only have a greater ability to compete in school sports and other physical extracurriculars, but will have a better idea of which ones they’ll enjoy most. In addition, they may develop related career interests, like physical education or sports therapy. Regardless of your child’s career plans, participating in regular physical activity can also enhance academic performance.

What You Can Do: Encourage your child to try out for sports or other after-school clubs that require physical skill and coordination, such as dance or marching band. These encourage an active, healthy lifestyle as well as practice building key life skills like self-discipline, time-management, and strategic thinking.

Creative Growth

At Camp: From painting to crafts to making music, summer camps offer many creative outlets that allow children to express themselves artistically, building creativity and problem-solving abilities.

School Connection: Creative skills can lead to greater academic success in subjects like art and literature, and they can prepare your child to try drama clubs, singing ensembles, or shop or art classes. 

What You Can Do: In addition to supporting them in related extracurricular activities, seize opportunities to expose your child to arts and culture by taking them to museums, festivals, and concerts. Besides teaching them the general value of cultural awareness, this can help to prepare them for international studies, learning new languages, and building in-demand cultural competence skills for the job market.

Developmental Growth

At Camp: Summer camps expose children to new experiences and hobbies, from cooking to robotics. This exposure can spark curiosity, build resilience, and enhance critical thinking.

School Connection: This curiosity and resilience can lead to a more engaged and proactive approach to learning. Parents can continue to foster this growth by providing resources and opportunities that align with the child’s newfound interests and encouraging them to take intellectual risks. In addition, pursuing hobbies can help kids apply abstract concepts they learn in school to real-world activities.

What You Can Do: Encourage your child not just to try new things, but to look at concepts or problems from different perspectives, and seek inspiration. Discovering hobbies and interests will make your child more well-rounded and can even help them explore new career possibilities. It can also help them meet new people who share their passion, and can help them to lead happier and healthier lives overall.

Prepare Your Child for Each School Year With Surprise Lake Camp

Surprise Lake Camp is a nonprofit organization that provides a home away from home for generations of young people. We believe in the value of community and friendship. Our Jewish values and identity shape our connection to nature. We’re dedicated to helping young people unplug and grow as well as develop skills and confidence to last a lifetime, adding to SLC’s storied history as the nation’s longest-running Jewish sleepaway camp. Learn more about the values we work to teach your child while also giving them a high-quality summer camp experience.

Take the next step: explore our first-time camper experiences and request more information. Then come for a tour and learn about the SLC difference!