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Opportunity abounds for kids enrolled in summer camp

There are many benefits kids get from going to summer camp. One ofthose benefits is that they can learn without the pressure of beinggraded.­­

There are many benefits kids get from going to summer camp. One of those benefits is that they can learn without the pressure of being graded.­­

“They can just enjoy learning,” says David Field, the editor of the Ontario-based Our Kids Go To Camp magazine. “It doesn’t have to have something attached to it that they have to achieve.”

This means kids can progress at their own pace.

“We take a child from where they are to anywhere they can go in the specified time we have them and they feel good about it, as opposed to being graded on it,” says Andrea Jaros of SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary. She’s responsible for the summer camps at SAIT and is a former teacher herself.

Camps can also offer kids a fresh start, compared to what they’re used to at school.

“In school, there’s certain assumptions or you might get labelled,” says Field. “But when you go to camp, it’s a whole new beginning. You start fresh, (it’s) a chance to meet all new people, do all new sorts of things, nobody knows anything about you.”

Summer camps also help develop life skills, such as conflict resolution and communication skills. This is especially true in overnight camps.

“You have to get along with people that you may be in the same cabin with or people you’re spending all day long with,” says Field. “It’s a different circumstance. You don’t go home at night and then get away from them. You have to learn how to work with people. You may not like everybody, but you have to respect and understand them.”

The camps also allow children to build supportive relationships, both with each other and the adults running the camps.

“That’s very helpful, especially if the child does not have a lot of positive influences in their lives,” says Jaros.

In today’s age of emails, text messages and cell phones, the camp experience is face to face.
“The entire camp experience is social,” says Field. “You’re not chatting with someone on a screen, you’re talking with them in person and you’re gaining experiences with people.”

But above all, camps provide an opportunity to do something different.

“It’s a chance for them to discover new likes and dislikes,” says Field. “It’s a chance for them to make new friends, and also the friendships will last a lifetime.”