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The Power of Camp

There is no argument that our society continues to change at a rapid pace. Emphasis on community and a sense of neighborhoods is dwindling. Human relationships are falling behind electronic connections. But the ability to effectively relate to another person, to demonstrate caring and compassion, and to have meaningful human connections is still a vital ingredient for healthy youth development. How are we to prepare our children with the interpersonal skills and compassion they will need to be healthy, functioning adults in an ever-changing world?
 
Camp is one place where girls have an opportunity to learn powerful lessons in the importance of healthy human connections. Whether through a day or resident camp experience, girls learn to live and interact positively with new people from areas outside their own world. They have attention and guidance from caring and supportive adult role models who demonstrate compassionate leadership and help girls feel loved, capable, and included. They engage in teambuilding and group activities that allow them to relate to each other in unique and supportive ways. And they make new friends!

As one parent wrote in 2012, “My daughter has a difficult time getting along in big groups of kids. She came back so thrilled that all the girls were friends and no one was left out.  It was a very welcoming environment.”
 
According to the American Camp Association, camp promotes community. It creates this great space that shows children how to live together and care for one another. There are norms and negotiation of boundaries; there are rules. Camp is a place where children can “practice” growing up stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family. This is what childhood is supposed to provide. And that is the power of camp!