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April 2011 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

Five reasons summer camp is important for your child

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Nothing says summer quite like camp. A rite of passage for most kids, it offers them the opportunity to have fun and make new friends. Here are five more things going to camp does for a child:

Changes kids for the better

Research from the American Camp Association has confirmed that children who go to camp have experiences that will help them as adults. The research found that 96 percent of campers questioned said that going to camp helped them make new friends, and 93 percent said that they got to know kids who were different from them. Ninety-two percent said going to camp increased their self-esteem, and 74 percent said they gained the courage to try things they were at first afraid to do.

Gets them moving

Going to camp provides children with the opportunity to try new things and participate in human-powered activities. An estimated 22 million of the world’s children under the age of 5 are considered obese. According to the Association’s research, 63 percent of children who learn new activities at camp tend to continue engaging in those activities after returning home.

Keeps their minds sharp

All camps understand the critical role they play in helping young people learn and grow. Many offer programs that help reduce summer learning loss, bolster academic enrichment and socialization, provide opportunities for leadership development, and ensure that campers achieve their full potential.

Gets them to unplug

According to a study by two Cornell University environmental psychologists, being close to nature — and away from technology — can help boost a child’s attention span. Additionally, a study conducted by England’s University of Essex concluded that nature can help people recover from pre-existing stresses or problems, has an immunizing effect that can protect from future stresses, and helps people concentrate and think more clearly. In some instances, camp may be the only time a child is in contact with the natural world.

Encourages play

At camp, children are encouraged to be kids by playing in a safe and nurturing environment. Play is a powerful form of learning that contributes mightily to the child’s healthy physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development. According to an American Academy of Pediatrics report, creative free play protects a child’s emotional development and reduces the risk of stress, anxiety, and depression.

There is a summer camp program for every child that will build skills, friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

To find the right camp for your child, visit www.campwizard.org, or call (800) 777-CAMP for free, one-on-one advice in finding a summer camp. American Camp Association-accreditation is a parent’s best evidence of a camp’s commitment to health and safety, and ensures that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally-challenging learning opportunities.

Updated 5:45 pm, April 1, 2011
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