So, your kids want to go to camp.
Of course they do – camp is to kids what an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation is to adults. But why in your right mind would you let your little ones leave you for an entire week? Will they be safe? Happy? Won’t they miss you dearly?
Sending your kids to camp, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time, is a big deal, and that slightly uneasy feeling is only natural. Concerns about whether your kids will be well supervised, safe and happy at camp is also totally normal. Parents can anticipate feelings of excitement at the prospect of children participating in an experience unlike any other, filled with friends, the opportunity for adventure, and a sense of independence. And yes, we’ll admit it – you’ll also be excited to have a break from parenthood for a week.
Pam Chater, Manager of YMCA Camp Elphinstone, an overnight camp on the Sunshine Coast, claims that summer camp is a great option for a child’s personal growth.
“It’s important to remember that balancing a healthy amount of risk with the opportunity for positive development is actually a good thing. Kids learn and grow best when they experience new challenges in a safe and controlled environment.”
The Y has been running camps for more than a century, and knows a thing or two about how camp helps kids reach their potential. Check out these five reasons why you should send your kids to summer camp this summer.
1. They’ll build independence
Overnight camp teaches kids how to be more independent and self-reliant than they are at home. When mom and pop aren’t around, kids need to step up to take care of themselves, learn how to closely interact with others, and make decisions on their own.
2. They’ll build self esteem
Going away to camp helps kids build their own identity away from the family unit and allows them to try new things. At camp, kids challenge themselves in new activities, and learn to live in a community of their own.
3. They’ll make new friends
Camp isn’t restricted by school catchments or classrooms, and kids don’t always get the chance to make new friends outside of their regular peer group during the school year. Friendships made at camp often turn into lifelong ones, full of lasting memories of shared experiences.
4. They’ll be moving
Kids are spending a lot of time sitting these days—more than 50 hours a week (and that doesn’t include sleeping, folks). It’s been said that the biggest risk is keeping kids indoors. Camps get kids off the couch, swimming, running, playing games, sports and offers the chance to have real life adventures rather than digital ones!
5. They’ll have fun
Wouldn’t it be nice if the hardest decision you had to make today was whether you wanted to learn how to hold a bow and arrow or go for a swim? Camp gives kids the chance to know what it feels like to let days unfold worry free where all that matters is the present moment or what fun thing is coming up next.
If safety is your concern, a bit of homework can help you determine if a camp is well run or not. Many camps are accredited with the BC Camping Association, which ensures that relevant legislation and standards related to health, food, safety and more are in place.
Camp counsellors also typically undergo intensive training. At the YMCA for example, all camp staff are First Aid certified and have 35+ hours training in topics like child protection, safety, and supervision. Be sure to check the safety and training standards in place before you register your child anywhere.
Still feeling a little stressed? Some camps offer ways to communicate with your kids while they’re at camp. YMCA Camp Elphinstone sends photos of campers to families while their kids are at camp and even offers the chance for parents to send ‘bunknotes’ to kiddies too.
To learn more about YMCA camps, including more than 20 day camp locations, an overnight camp in Gibsons, financial assistance, and a pretty sweet ‘bring a friend’ promotion, visit this website.
A free week of YMCA day camp or $200 credit towards a week of overnight camp at YMCA Camp Elphinstone
To enter for your chance to win a free week of YMCA day camp for your child or $200 towards a week of overnight camp at YMCA Camp Elphingstone, do the following:
1. Fill out the form by clicking here.
2. Share this article on your Facebook timeline commenting “Happy Campers”
Contest entries will be accepted from time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm, Wednesday, April 29, 2016.