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Sleepaway Camping For Kids In The Us

1803 words - 8 pages

I never wanted to leave. I truly thought my life was ending on that August day in 2010 as the Peter Pan bus pulled off the dirt bumpy road in New Hampshire on its trek back to the Bloomingdales parking lot in Connecticut. The night before, I stood on the shore of New Found Lake looking out at the horizon on my last night, arm and arm with my sisters, tears streaming down our faces as our beloved director quoted, "You never really leave a place you love; part of it you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind." Throughout the years, I have taken so much of what I learned those seven summers with me. I can undoubtedly say that Camp Wicosuta is the happiest place on earth; my second and most memorable home. Camp was more than just fun even as I smile recalling every campfire, color-war competition, and bunk bonding activity I participated in. It was an opportunity to learn, be independent, apart of an integral community, and thrive in a new and safe environment. I recognize that camp played an essential role in who I am today.
Attending sleepaway camp has long been a summertime tradition for kids across the United States. According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 7,000 resident camps in the U.S (ACA Facts and Trends 1). Whether it is a traditional camp with arts & crafts, sports, and theater or a special-interest camp, the campers build the same lifetime skills. Although some kids have a genetic predisposition to such important lifetime qualities, most do not. Every sleepaway camp has the same formula that enables kids to learn, practice, and improve upon important values and traits. Similar to mission statements across the board, Camp Wicosuta’s goal “is for every child to walk away feeling confident in herself and competent in her ability in any number of areas. We teach these lessons in a physically and emotionally safe community in which our campers are challenged to move pass their self-set limits” (Camp Wicosuta, Mission Statement). Whether or not a child has the time of their life, camp immediately puts them at an advantage in daily life from a young age and undoubtedly plays a role in who they become as adults.
Interestingly, the separation from a parent for a short time is beneficial during childhood. While children need this safe environment to initially grow, they also need to experience independence and decision-making for themselves. According to psychologist Michael Thompson, “At a time when many American parents manage the minutia of their children's lives well into college – a trend broadly referred to as "overparenting" or "helicopter parenting" – the above exchange serves to remind parents that letting kids go lets them grow. And, according to Thompson, sleepaway camp provides the perfect occasion” (Berl). Overparenting, referring to the spoiling and decision-making a parent does for a child, does not help a child become successful and independent. Of course, children cannot be thrown into fully...

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