At first, the campers were only familiar with the digital realm of text messages, Facebook and video games. But by the end of camp, a new study found they experienced significant growth, connecting with the world beyond electronic screens and smartphones.
“The major changes on their growth speaks tremendously of the summer camp experience,” says Troy Glover, the director of the University of Waterloo’s Healthy Communities Research Network, who spearheaded the Canadian Summer Camp Research Project.
Camp counsellors had observed the positive change in children by the end of their sessions, according to researchers from the project.
“Sending kids to camp allows children to grow and learn good citizenship, social integration, personal development and social development, exploring his or her capabilities and being in a safe environment where they can grow, gain independence and take risks,” Glover says.
And in the age of overprotective parents wanting to shelter their children from all risks, camp can offer a safe place for kids to experience the kind of freedom their parents enjoyed when they were young.
“My parents were much more open to allowing me to play wherever I want … (as opposed to) today, despite our communities being statistically safer,” says Glover, a father of two. “Because we want to protect kids from harm … we are less likely to give kids their freedom.”
By allowing children to take risks, the study found camp helps children develop important skills and build their independence, resiliency and…
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