As Social Communities with Shared Values and Lots of Group Fun, Camps Often Produce Friendships that Last a Lifetime.
Is there any friend like a camp friend? You make a lot of friends in your lifetime, but summer camp is such a unique and social experience, one of the best things about it is often the close friendships you make. There’s even some research: In a poll of campers, the American Camp Association (ACA) found that 96% say camp helped them feel good about themselves. The research also showed that 69% of parents feel like their child remains in contact with friends made at camp.
There are many reasons summer camp has traditionally been a place that helps foster friendships that can last years to a lifetime. A few of them are listed below.
Summer Camp is a Community
Campers and counselors eat meals together, share in camp traditions and rituals, take part in activities together, and at resident camp, live in bunks together for weeks at a time. Campers and staff become like family. For the majority of campers, being at summer camp is the first time they have lived with or eaten every meal with a group of people other than their family. As a community that lives, eats and participates in activities together, campers must learn to adapt, make decisions as a group, and respect other people’s needs.
Summer Camp is Where Great Friendships Begin
For many children, a reason camp friendships are so strong-is because camp can be a respite from constraints at home and a place to gain confidence in social skills, which ultimately affects friendships. At home, a camper has gone to school with the same children for years and may be labeled as the shy or the athletic child. At camp, they can reinvent themselves. Camp is an accepting community and a child can be themselves at summer camp.
Summer Camp is Educational Teamwork
Camp professionals are also trained in the management of group dynamics. They teach the value of teamwork. By promoting a united sense of communication, each child feels a wonderful social confidence. Of course, good teamwork takes respect and if disrespectful or hurtful behaviors occur between campers, counselors are there to talk to the campers and make this a teachable moment to learn from.
Summer Camp is Cherished
Ask many adults who are summer camp alumni about their camp memories and they will most likely recall a great many stories to tell. Summer camps know camp alumni enjoy seeing each other every year to reminisce about camp traditions and rekindle the magic of nostalgia so they organize camp reunions for former campers and staff. At reunions, camp friends share stories, sing camp songs and take part in favorite camp activities. Sending your child to summer camp is a wonderful way for him or her to form new, long-lasting friendships and to become part of a caring community.