Camp is a place where children and adults from a wide variety of backgrounds are put together in an active, outdoor environment. They meet peers that they might have never been able to through these groups. Camp friends are like no other. Group ice breakers, games, constant activity choices and the camaraderie of camp allow them to form strong, unique bonds very quickly. They can become pen pals throughout the year and go right back to where they left off the next summer.
Camp is a supported environment for growth. Campers can choose activities and friends, they choose their attitude and participation levels and are tasked with making their experience as good as it can be. At camp, they are given responsibilities like cleaning their bunks and scraping their plates. The added level of expectation gives campers a sense of pride and accomplishment upon completion. They strive for awards like ‘Cleanest Cabin’ and ‘Least Waste’ and build teamwork through the competition.
Successfully navigating a brand new environment, building friendships, finding independence and having fun are all components of developing self-esteem. Feeling a sense of pride in their work, in trying new things, in creating new crafts carries over into life outside of camp. If they can navigate the scary world of sleepaway camp, they can tackle that 5th grade picnic or feel confident in volunteering for a new role in Boy Scouts, etc. The impact of camp goes far beyond the cabin and week that they are here.
Above all, camp is a fun place to be. Campers will enjoy the outdoors, try activities like fishing, tubing, hiking, biking, climbing and cooking. They will make new friends and form bonds with the staff. They will sing songs and learn dances. They will make friendship bracelets and exchange addresses to write to each other during the year. There will be art fairs and talent shows and random bouts of laughter at inside jokes. Soaking in the fresh air for a week, away from technology and the fast pace of life, campers will return home exhausted and refreshed and filled with amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
By Tiffanie Walentiny and True Friends Staff