Every year, there is more emphasis placed on achievements and building a resume for a job or college application. Most high school students are spending their summers attending academic camps, sports camps, or “cram session” for SATs. This phenomenon is so apparent that even the Dean of Admissions for Harvard penned a letter describing it. In his writing, he states “bring summer back”. He believes that kids should take time to reflect and re-create. Children need down time away from the stress that school can bring and away from the fast pace life they lead during that time. There is no better place to take summer back than at summer camp. Charles Eliot, the former president of Harvard said “I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work”.
There is an overwhelming amount of articles and research papers written about the benefits of camp. The American Camp Association has spent years researching these benefits to help educate parents. Additionally, the Huffington Post published an article titled “5 Ways Summer Camp Helps Your Child Prepare for Adulthood”. The author, Todd Kestin, lists these 5 benefits: kids learn teamwork, resiliency, how to make a decision, how to try new things, and lastly, it helps them grow up.
Here is where Camp Wa-Klo comes into play. We are a place where kids learn these skills and more. While talking to one of our LTGs, she described how she learned how to have realistic expectations when working in a group and how, what she pictured, might not be what others have and how she has to adjust her expectations based on that. Another former LTG, who is now a counselor, explained how because of Wa-Klo, she has the confidence to raise her hand in a classroom full of people and voice and stand behind her opinion. This former LTG also talked about how camp has helped her become a leader and how to differentiate between the times when she should lead and when she should let others lead. I have to say, I think that is one of the most difficult skills to master as a leader. But I see it every day walking through camp. I see our girls developing these skills; learning how to negotiate, how to advocate for themselves, and how to have a discussion. I believe Charles Eliot had it right. Summer camp is more valuable educationally than a year of formal school. Just look around at your daughters. Look at the wonderful woman they are becoming.
I want to end with one of my favorite quotations by an unknown author. “The only thing more fleeting than summer is childhood”.