How Summer Camps Help Build Confidence and Resilience in Kids
As parents, we can't help but give it our all; love, respect, compassion, empathy, principles, and integrity. Each interaction invites valuable lessons. And, for the most part, we're good at the whole parenting thing. Formative years? We're there and are the number 1 participants. We pass on the cumulative knowledge, the transgenerational wisdom - archaic to modern tips and tricks. "Be kind. Stand up for yourself. This is how you fold fitted sheets. Question everything. Have patience." However, there are essential things that a parent cannot provide, the ones that transcend the paternal cape of innate protectiveness. In all its grandiose complexity, life simply surpasses the familial scope - as it also begins on the very outskirts of one's sense of security. That's where experience comes in. Camps offer a unique opportunity for the child's growth – a fast lane to self-discovery. This is how summer adventures and summer camps help build confidence and resilience in kids.
Introduction to independence
Parenting styles aside, here's the truth: independence is a fleeting phenomenon for today's kids. Why? Technology; a blessing and a curse. Yes, things have evolved since we were kids - analog no more. And, surely, we can appreciate the upgrade and the comfort technological evolution brings - practicality and time distribution. Life has become user-friendly at last. However, there are downfalls. As modern parents, we can't help but be hyper-present in our kids' lives. Fact: Involuntarily or voluntarily, we are all up in their business. Communication lines are available 24/7; location too. As harmless and endearing as we may find the modern-day parenting benefits, this digital and access-friendly narrative fosters the very antonym of what we're trying to do as loving, caring parental figures. Instead of preaching independence, we stealthily, subconsciously enforce utter dependence on our children.
So, are parenting trends actually impeding their progress? We wouldn't go that far. The ubiquitous truth stills stand, though. The overwhelming connectedness is not doing our parenting styles a favor. Hence, summer camps. The adventure offers a unique opportunity for our kids to get acquainted with the concept of autonomy. We say, hit pause on parent-child symbiosis and let them roam free. Summer camps teach children a variety of essential skills, such as taking responsibility and making their very own and very first decisions. Independence is a personality trait that is best introduced early on. The sooner, the better.
Extra grit layer
It's a demanding world out there; parents, do you think we have it rough right now? Think 15 or 20 years from now. We'll be retired. A glass of wine in one hand, a book in the other (hard copy, say no to Kindle). What about our kids and their fast-paced work environment? - It's the grit. It's always the grit. We all need the good, old grit to thrive. "But my kid is shy, introverted, reserved. They're not big on authority. They're a gentle soul." Beautiful. And we say - nourish that special part of them. Support it. All the better; children who are introverted will experience little to zero chance of succeeding in life - unless life provides a lesson in resistance (we're getting a little too existential - but it's absolutely necessary). How does a child learn to push past their failures and life's difficulties?
Again, as parents, we instinctively overextend ourselves to provide substantial cushioning for their first reality-check landing. But how does keeping them safe from harm translate into a valuable lesson? Safe bubbles? No. Camp experiences do it for us. If we want to build confidence and resilience in kids, we let them bruise a little - in a controlled, safe environment. Through well-designed programs, summer camps teach children the necessities of persistence, resilience, and grit. Why does it work? Peer support. Healthy, benevolent competition. Teamwork. Summer camps encourage children to "imagine the impossible" and work hard toward proving themselves wrong. Onward is the only way out. They will get to challenge themselves, set different goals, and, most importantly, learn to embrace failure with dignity. "Is that how life works? Ok, then. Bring it on. I'm ready. I'll climb that rock over and over again until I succeed."
Self-confidence through teamwork
Summer camps help build confidence and are great for improving social skills. It's all about teamwork. Every child is different; they bring a unique set of skills to the table - and all are appreciated equally. While working in groups, children get the opportunity to get a sense of other kids' talents and learn how to interact and complement each other’s strengths and "weaknesses." The premise of "summer camp" rides on each participant's ability to communicate and work through "group" problems. Teamwork does wonders for their self-confidence, as there are no evident "skill gaps." Everyone's input is appreciated. Equality and empathy are what we call "core values" of a healthy society. By giving them a sense of control and responsibility through various group activities, each child is given the opportunity to harness self-confidence.
Additionally, the learned "teamwork mentality" continues to be present in family dynamics; if we were to say: "Honey, we're thinking about moving from NYC and hiring long-distance movers," the chances are, they'll team up with us. We'll team up with the right pros - and the whole moving process will run smoothly.
Comfort zone expansion
Summer camps are a gateway to new experiences, and when we say new, we mean - absolutely unfamiliar. As we all know (from our personal experience), all the cognition and all the good things in life come when we step out of the imaginary perimeter—the notorious comfort zone. For kids, summer camps invite myriad unfathomable obstacles. They might hate it a bit - at first (we all enjoy the comfort of modern-day living, no exceptions). However, it will give them the opportunity to grow. And they will love it.
So, how do we efficiently build confidence and resilience in kids? By getting them off the couch this summer. And letting the summer camps help build confidence in your kids. Kids become more secure in their own identity when they cognize how helping others can, in fact, gift them the ultimate: having a sense of purpose. Nothing beats that.
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