The Gift of Camp

It can be hard deciding what to give a child for a present. Do you give them toys? Games? Clothes? Instead of gifting them with a tangible item, what about gifting them with an experience, such as time at camp? When a child receives time at camp as a present, he or she is also receiving an experience to remember, full of learning and memories with friends.

Gifting camp each year has been an up-and-coming trend, because of camp’s many benefits. In addition to spending time outdoors, camp activities and experiences help build skills to prepare a child for later life. They are learning how to gain independence, improve their self-esteem, and grow spiritually. Children are also making new friends and learning new activities. The three main categories in which children strengthen their abilities are with regard to social skills, self-respect and character building, as well as community living and service skills. Kids take part in camp activities that require them to be leaders, communicate with others, and encourage their participation. They learn responsibility, resourcefulness, and resilience while participating in character-building activities. Camp prepares kids to be successful members of their community by improving their aptitude for citizenship, fairness, and trustworthiness. Lastly, going to camp gives kids a chance to unplug from technology. Everyone needs a break now and then from TV, computers, and cellphones to reconnect with the real world. By going device-free at camp, children can explore their creative side.

One important part of giving the gift of camp is choosing the right camp for your child. There are many different types of summer camps, including sports camps, educational camps, arts, overnight, day, and religious camps, along with traditional summer camps. Each camp experience offers various activities and experiences. When it comes to picking out the right one for your child, get them involved in the process. If you want the gift to be a surprise, choose a camp based on their interests. If they love to dance, maybe look into dance camps, or if they love to be outdoors, the traditional summer camp experience might be the best option. Try to find a camp that is fun and has an educational component. While most camps do have this component built into their activities, research what the camp offers that might help your child in school in the upcoming year.

If you aren’t sure about a certain camp and haven’t heard much about it, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to see if they have had any experience with it. When sending your child to a new place, it is important to have a recommendation and an insider’s scope. Hearing feedback about a camp and experiences will help you decide if the camp is a right fit for your child. In addition to talking with others, research the camp through their website, history, reviews, and social media accounts. Reviews might not be as helpful as other research, but will give you an idea of the type of experience your child could go through.

Lastly, when looking at a camp, it is important to review their security measures. Other things to keep in mind are what they do when bad weather strikes, what their guidelines are for pick-up and drop-off, as well as for field trip and water safety. It might be the most beneficial to actually talk with a camp representative to get your questions answered. Also, look into the camp’s allergy restrictions, especially if your child has food allergies. Be sure to communicate this information to the camp counselors, so they know what foods to avoid giving your child at snack and meal times. Also, find out how the food is prepared, handled, and how the staff will react in the case of an emergency.

Giving the gift of camp means you are giving a child an experience they will remember for a lifetime. Camp provides them with the opportunity to make memories, learn more about various skills and activities, and meet lifelong friends.