Back to articles Summer Camp - A Sound Investment in Youth By: Mari-Beth Crysler (Director, Camp Wabikon)

Categories: Family Fun

Having spent over 35 summers at camp, as a camper, counsellor and director, I was pleased to read the findings of a recent study called The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project

This study, a collaborative project by the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Camping Association, confirms what camp directors like myself have been proudly telling parents for years. Participation in provincially accredited camps promotes positive change in five key areas of development.

  1. Social integration and citizenship
  2. Environmental awareness
  3. Attitudes towards physical activity
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Self-confidence and personal development

I have seen the surprise on a parent's face as they research summer camp options and calculate the per day price of their child's stay at camp. However, keeping an open mind, I ask you to consider the following. Your camp fees are an investment in your child, and the ROI is very promising!

As director of a camp with international clientele, social integration and citizenship are an important aspect of each summer. Opinions, attitudes and perceptions, barriers which would otherwise act as hurdles for campers from different backgrounds, are significantly diminished by the level playing field of camp's social scene. Campers feel comfortable to interact, connect, befriend and learn about peers from around the world. They experience the benefits of camp together.

The mental and physical well being of our campers is enhanced by their participation in an active, outdoor program. Camp's location on an island in northern Ontario, often remarked on by parents as breath-taking and serene, does not go unnoticed by campers both young and old. Exposure to and appreciation of the beauty around them and the program within which they choose to participate, promotes both environmental awareness as well as a positive attitude toward physical activity.

Children who attend summer camp are given a unique opportunity to thrive in a safe and nurturing environment. Campers feel a sense of ownership of 'their camp'. They experience an unsurpassed sense of personal freedom and empowerment. In turn, this comfort and trust facilitates an increase in self-confidence, independence and emotional intelligence. I have witnessed this growth in countless campers, including my own children. Confidence and enthusiasm combine and empower campers to undertake new challenges, explore their interests and expand their abilities. Finding success in these endeavors, or just having had the courage to try, further fosters their self-worth and personal development.

Viewed through the lens of these five key areas, sending a child to camp becomes an enticing and promising investment with rich potential. In truth, the return on investment is priceless; a flourish of developmental growth that continues to strengthen the confidence and capabilities in youth long after the final campfire and bus ride home.

Article written by Mari-Beth Crysler, Director at Camp Wabikon on beautiful Lake Temagami