Yes, overnight camp, a teen tour, or a wilderness adventure are geared for your child to have fun. But what about other benefits? Beyond just fun, summer programs are character building at their core. One such character-building benefit is “Perseverance.”
When our children leave home for the first time it can be jarring. We are asking them to navigate difficult situations on their own. While it may seem concerning, this is really a wonderful chance to develop problem solving skills. Seemingly overnight, our children are living communally, asked to get along with groups of new people, and navigating new surroundings. While this all sounds intimidating, it is exactly what they need in order to grow and explore who they are and who they strive to become.
Being away from the comforts of home forces our children to persevere through difficult situations. Our children will learn coping strategies and problem-solving skills through their summer experiences. While we try to teach our children these skills, sometimes it is through actual experiences that these skills are better developed.
After my daughter returned from overnight camp from her first summer away, I noticed an increase in her maturity. The little things that used to rile her up, didn’t anymore. Things seemed to roll off her back a little easier. When my son returned home after his first summer away, he gained a tremendous amount of independence. His clothes were put away (somewhat neatly) and he was better able to keep track of his belongings. These developments may be subtle, but they are also significant.
Although I might’ve hoped these developmental growths would have occurred with or without overnight camp, I absolutely saw a shift in their self-confidence due to their overnight camp experience.
Maybe it’s because they got to shine in their own activities, or they felt comfortable to be themselves and create new friendships. Either way, it is incredible to see the confidence boost after a summer experience.
When considering an overnight program for your child, consider the importance of perseverance, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills being developed at the same time they are experiencing fun activities, meeting new people, and exploring new surroundings.
What subtle benefits did you notice after your child returned from an overnight experience? We’d love to hear the positive anecdotes, so please leave a comment!