Thinking of Staying Longer?
The Advantages of a Longer Camp Stay
At Canadian Adventure Camp, we like to keep up-to-date with summer camp discourse – it keeps us sharp! A recent article in Camping Magazine about the advantages of a full-season camp stay got us talking. We have campers who make C.A.C. their home for the full 8 weeks every summer; however, this is not as common as it once was. Interestingly, the Camping Magazine article highlighted the increasingly positive feedback from prospective camp families regarding extended camp stays for their children after developing an understanding of the advantages a longer camp stay can have.
Building Relationships at Camp
I am always amazed by the friendships that can develop over a two week session at Canadian Adventure Camp due to the friendly, welcoming atmosphere cultivated by the adult counsellors who live in the cabins with the children. I have always believed that smaller, overnight camps have a huge advantage when it comes to enabling children to bond with their peers. As great as two weeks are to begin building friendships, it always takes a while to settle into camp whether it is your first time at camp or your tenth. Longer camp stays allow time for friendships to develop at their own pace, and relationships built over longer periods tend to be more enduring and based on who people genuinely are, rather than the image they may initially project. Children and teens are under increasing pressure to be viewed in a certain way by their peers, and for this reason I believe that the authentic relationships that can develop at camp are incredibly valuable. I believe that becoming comfortable and confident with who you are is one of the most important things a child can learn at camp.
Skill acquisition is (or should be) a critical part of any camp stay, whether the skills in question are learning to stern a canoe or learning to solve a minor conflict. Longer camp stays certainly have an advantage when it comes to giving campers a chance to build their skills. Two weeks goes surprisingly quickly, especially with the number of different activities offered at Canadian Adventure Camp. A longer camp stay enables campers to try lots of different activities, but also find activities they particularly enjoy and have time to work on their skill set. A longer camp stay also give staffs members a better chance to get to know individual campers, and work with them towards their goals using approaches that best match their abilities and learning style. This principle also applies to working with children to develop their social skills or leadership skills, and gives time to try various approaches to help children determine what works best for them in various situations.
I hope that this article has given you some food for thought and may become a topic of discussion as it did for us.