Kids Who Go to Camp Get Ahead

By Elisa Dorman

 
Forbes magazine wrote about “The 10 Vital Skills You Will Need for the Work of the Future.” Technological skills was number seven – we all know that the youngest generation needs to learn computer programming, data analytics, etc. STEM subjects (Science, technology, engineering and math) are being pushed by educators across the board as job skills needed to fill high-paying, high-productivity positions now and in the near future.
 
However, tech isn’t all that your kids need. The rest of the 9 items on that list are “soft skills” like embracing change, creativity, analytical thinking, interpersonal communication skills and emotional intelligence. Billionaire Warren Buffet claims that integrity is the most important trait to hire for. So when you ask yourself how to help your kids get ahead, don’t just think about packing them with classes and extra-curriculars, lessons and resume-builders – think about how they are going to become people of integrity, with social awareness, communication skills, determination, creativity and kindness. These skills are going to get them somewhere in their careers, help them raise healthy families and be balanced, happy people too.
 
Camp is an amazing place to grow in social skills, creativity and integrity. Let me break down just a few ways that camp develops some of those incredibly valuable (and increasingly rare) soft skills:
 

1. Camp encourages healthy risk taking

 
One of our summer staff said it perfectly when reflecting on the value of summer camp in a kids’ life,
 

“Camp is great because kids get a chance to get out of their comfort zones while actually in a really safe environment.”

 
Camp is full of risk-taking – squeezing that horse for the first time to trot through the riding arena, swimming out into the lake, sleeping in treehouses or trying a new sport. All the while, trained staff and safety equipment are at the ready. We design programs so that they challenge campers to grow, but allow them to reach goals if they don’t give up. This kind of resilience will set them up well to overcome barriers in other parts of their lives as well.
 

2. Camp is social

 
From sleeping in a cabin with friends, to collaborating to build a fire or play a game, the connections that campers make with each other is invaluable. Kids often feel that they can really be themselves without the constraints of their normal friend groups. We design our activities to center around interpersonal connection (and connection with animals).
 

3. Camp teaches incredible values

 
We teach campers about Jesus! Along with that we teach some incredible Biblical values that are powerful no matter what faith campers ascribe to. We teach kids to be honest, kind, to see from another’s perspective and to tell their stories. We teach young leaders about respecting authority, responsibility, working hard, asking good questions and about how to communicate clearly. Exposure to the intensity of social interactions at camp makes kids more interesting, dynamic and compassionate young people.
 
So, make an incredible investment in your kid/teens’ employability and personal growth by sending them to summer camp! The character development camp kids experience will have a ripple effect as they grow up, work and live as well-rounded people. Oh, and there is one catch to all this – while they learn, they get to have a whole lot of fun!
 
Sound too good to be true? No, camp is a century old North American tradition because it is all around incredible for young people. Try it out for your kids this summer.

 

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