Studies continue to reveal the significance of true friendships in peoples’ lives. For young and old alike, friendships are crucial to a long life filled with happiness and joy. It couldn’t be more true – for children and teenagers making friends during summer camp. The quality of friendships developed in childhood and adolescence are important and camp friendships have the potential to develop into significant life altering relationships.
Children and teenagers need to develop the social skills which positive friendships provide along with the necessary physical well-being and intellectual health to become happy and successful in adulthood. With the significance of friendships firmly established, many camps work to foster the friendships as they teach, mentor, and model social skills throughout summer camp programming.
Confirmed by Study
While campers have tons of fun spending time in the great outdoors, exploring new skill sets, and finding exciting new activities to enjoy, they also learn needed life skills while at summer camp. Social skills are developed at summer camp, as attested to in a recent survey, of campers and their parents in 2014. The study, performed by the American Camp Association (ACA), asked campers and their parents if they believed, after two weeks of summer camp, the campers’ social skills improved or worsened. The campers and their parents reported positive changes in the campers’ social skills.
Campers noted specifically that they learned new ways to meet and get to know people better, giving them the ability to choose friends and have more fun with friends. The campers also realized they had gained enhanced ability to understand their friends and be better friends themselves.
Focusing on Friendships
Camp counselors are trained to help campers develop social skills, facilitate friendships, and have a positive experience overall. The training counselors receive includes communication techniques, leadership and team building activities which are designed to help campers connect, make new friends, and form lasting friendships.
Campers’ experiences are designed purposefully to develop campers’ social skills and help them build friendships. The benefits of making friends at summer camp are many. An enhanced sense of belonging, accompanied by a feeling of welcome and social acceptance are only a small portion of the attributes experienced by campers. The ease of making new friends and learning to rekindle past friendships is equally important as the bonding experienced by the campers among friends and counselors.
Campers also have the opportunity to practice and learn skills like cooperation, connecting, selflessness, and empathy. Many campers learn to come out of their shells at camp and reduce their innate shyness. Children and teenagers attending camp also learn valuable communication skills including face-to-face communication abilities and conversation skills, while they garner new found capabilities in reading body language and facial expressions.
At camp, meeting new people from a variety of backgrounds is part of the profound experience of summer camp. As campers live together in close proximity, share spaces and activities, enjoy meals together, and gather ‘round the proverbial campfire they build and grow personally, but also in their understanding of those different than themselves. At summer camp, unplugged from the hectic, electronic-laden world of everyday life, children and teenagers learn relationship building though team activities and face-to-face interactions, socializing from morning ‘til night and emulating the positive social interaction their counselors and leaders provide. Campers learn to make friends, interact in positive new ways, and improve social skills to help them today and to build upon well into the future.
Camp Live Oak, an ACA accredited camp, provides these great benefits that comes from meeting new friends and building friendships with peers and counselors which can last a lifetime.