Disclosure: This post is sponsored by T Bar M Camps, a non-denominational Christian sports and adventure camp with locations in New Braunfels, Texas and on Lake Travis near Austin. Over 10,000 people experience T Bar M adventure every year.
Imagine a schedule so full of fun, you actually forget about TV and the iPad. Soccer and disc-golf in the morning, tie-dye at midday, pool time in the afternoon, and that’s just for starters. Add zip-lining, climbing walls, theme nights and water-balloon launches, and it’s a summer to remember forever. Archery, blobbing, laser tag, cabin competitions, paint wars…this is summer camp. Macaroni art and morning mush it is not.
Camp is one of the most lasting, rewarding experiences parents can give their children. It builds self-esteem, gives kids a sense of independence, and allows them to take a breather from the day-to-day.
Here are a few of the more unexpected benefits of summer camp:
Reason #1: Did we mention fun?
Did you know the average American kid now spends as little as 5 minutes playing outside? Amid peer pressure, high academic expectations, and excessive screen time, kids have less and less time to be kids.
Camp gives kids the freedom to shed expectations, play, and explore. Kids who play more and worry less are happier. Summer camps pack the day with fun activities, offering a non-intimidating environment to try challenging new things as well as allowing for quiet time as needed. Camp provides focus from the chaotic and uncertain; it’s an escape from the everyday.
Reason #2: Time to Unplug
Did you know that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend no more than one or two hours of screen time per day for children? Interestingly, the consequences of too much screen time are similar to those of high stress: it too can contribute to depression, anxiety and obesity.
Camp is an opportunity for kids to look up from their gadgets and over-stimulating toys to pay attention to the world around them. At camp, kids unplug for a whole week and learn to be in the moment – and we promise you, once they unplug and immerse themselves in camp, they don’t miss their screens.
Reason #3: Overcoming Homesickness
Homesickness is one of the top things that parents and kids worry about prior to their first experience with summer camp, but overcoming it often proves to be one of the most valuable experiences.
A child who has learned to cope with homesickness can learn to cope with other difficulties, both small and large, that are unavoidable in anyone’s life. Camp counselors understand homesickness and are trained to help a child navigate this difficulty.
Reason #4: Resilience
At camp, your child will experience little blocks of autonomy throughout the week that will help them develop into a confident, independent person. Overcoming homesickness, being hot and tired at the end of a hike yet sticking with it and finishing, finding compromises with peers, overcoming a fear or learning a new task … these are all small victories that will increase your child’s confidence. Eventually, they will see that they can do anything.
Reason #5: Role Models
At camp, kids have to make choices. What to have for breakfast? Swim or play sand volleyball? Brush my teeth? Eat a snack? Take a nap? Camp offers kids the chance to step away from the nest and make choices for themselves within a safe, structured environment.
Once of the best things about camp is the camp counselor. Counselors are usually college students in their 20s, who have benefited from camp themselves. They’re not so far removed from childhood that they don’t remember how it feels, but they’re mature and responsible enough to guide campers’ choices. They reinforce the same messages you give your kids, and yet your children receive those messages differently from a “cool college kid.” You’ll notice a difference after camp when your child makes his bed in the morning, offers to take your plate after dinner, or helps his sister with her chores.
Reason #6: The Freedom to be You (only different)
Camp exposes kids to activities and ideas that they might never experience otherwise. At school, kids find their niche in a peer group which – for better or worse – likely operates under prescribed roles, attitudes, and behaviors. At camp, they experience a new peer group, freeing them from the social expectations in which they find themselves all year. Summer camp is a rare opportunity to set kids on a safe path they choose themselves to explore the world in unexpected ways.
How will your children grow this summer?
Overcoming their fear of heights? Or making new lifelong friends?
At T Bar M Camps, your kids are invited to play their hearts out in a Christian summer experience. Here, wide eyes encounter Hill Country wonder. Whether it’s basketball or cheer, the zip line or the blob, campers play with purpose. All under the care of the very best role models in the state of Texas.
It’s a summer your kids will always remember. To find out more, visit www.TBarMCamps.org.