000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-080   1Z0-051   300-208   350-029   102-400   1z0-434   220-801   70-347   1Z0-804   210-260   640-911   300-135   NSE4   EX200   070-461   70-534   700-501   9L0-012   MB6-703   400-101   70-480   M70-101   SY0-401   PMP   1Z0-061   9A0-385   642-732   000-017   9L0-066   JN0-102   1Z0-061   70-411   1V0-601   300-206   400-051   MB2-707   640-692   101   70-346   CISSP   HP0-S42   PR000041   PMP   300-075   200-125  , 300-135   CCA-500   2V0-620   CISM   OG0-093  

10 Benefits of Summer Camp – Greater Pensacola Parents

10 Benefits of Summer Camp

As 14 million children across the country head off to day and overnight camps this summer, they’ll return home with more than just a cute camp t-shirt. The summer camp experience can give kids an advantage in school and in life. Here’s how camp benefits kids:

Nurtures social skills. Camp is a community away from home and school where kids learn to work with each other and adult mentors, build relationships and manage conflict.

“You learn to navigate through group dynamics, to barter, to keep one another happy, to be sensitive and support a friend who’s sad,” says James Spearin, YMCA senior vice president of youth development. “These skills transfer and build adults with strong character and leadership.”

Models healthy living. According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity in children has doubled, and in teens has quadrupled, in the last 30 years. Thanks to the many activities camp offers, kids stay busy and physically active.

More camps are also working to offer healthier food choices for their campers. According to 2014 study in the American Journal of Health Behavior, camps that offer wholesome foods are more likely to turn out campers who eat more fruits and veggies. Many resident and day camps now offer cooking and gardening tracks where kids learn how to prepare nutritious meals.

Eases the summer slide. You know that old saying, “if you snooze, you lose”? In the absence of regular enrichment over summer break, research finds that kids typically lose as much as two months of grade level equivalency in math. Reading comprehension and spelling skills also take a hit during the summer.

To help curb summer learning loss, many specialized camps offer educational opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) that make learning and problem-solving fun and interactive. Also look for camps geared toward reading, writing and the arts.

Provides a sense of achievement. From rock climbing to whitewater rafting and horseback riding, summer camp gives kids a chance to try activities that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to try.

“Trying new things in an encouraging environment creates a greenhouse for growing young leaders,” says Garret Perkins, director of Camp Kanakuk, a faith-based camp that offers overnight, day and family camps.

Enhances self-confidence. According to an extensive study of camper outcomes conducted by Philliber Research Associates, 70 percent of parents report that their child gained self-confidence while at camp. Whether they work through homesickness or tackle an activity that pushed them outside of their comfort zone, kids walk away feeling a stronger sense of personal pride and self-reliance.

“We use our activities and facilities as platforms to encourage kids in who they are and equip them to grow in confidence in who God has created them to be,” Perkins says. “With this newfound perspective, they become influencers in their own communities.”

Helps them unplug. In a distracting digital world, camp offers valuable space where kids can slow down, connect and focus.

“At Kanakuk, we remove the distraction technology offers and give campers the chance to plug into the great outdoors, try new sports and activities, make friends through shared experiences instead of shared social media platforms-and we see them come alive,” Perkins says.

Builds friendships. Away from the pressures, labels and social structure of school, one of the best parts of camp is the opportunity for kids to make new friends.

“Some of the biggest benefits we saw from sending our children to Kanakuk were their new friendships, spiritual growth and just the opportunity for them to spend time with like-minded people away from worldly distractions,” says Dianne Shadwick, whose three, now grown, children began attending Camp Kanakuk at age 9.

Reintroduces them to nature. According to a nationwide poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy, only about 10 percent of children spend time outdoors everyday. Why? Kids say they aren’t interested, they lack access and are uncomfortable outside. In the meantime, they’re growing more and more attached to life in cyberspace and further detached from the natural world.

“To connect with our woods and forests, our wildlife, our lakes and streams and oceans, our stars in complete darkness, all while depending on other campers and adults to keep one another safe is an experience unlike most others in life,” Spearin says.

Fosters teamwork. Camp facilitates an environment where kids learn that to succeed they must work together with their peers and their camp leaders.

Whether they’re working to build a campfire together, playing a game, or preparing a meal, campers learn to problem-solve to accomplish their goals. Through teamwork, kids learn that they are each an integral part of the camp community where they feel a sense of acceptance and belonging.

Encourages personal growth. While camp may simply seem like a quintessential summer pastime for kids where they might learn to swim, sleep in a cabin and sing around a campfire, they’re rewarded with personal development skills that will help them in the classroom, in their relationships and eventually, the board room- or whatever their calling.

“Those tangible experiences lead to building the foundations of stronger children who can lead others, show empathy, navigate through difficult group dynamics, value the differences in everyone, and give of oneself for the benefit of others,” Spearin says. “These are skills that the best in our society show throughout life.”


Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines is the mom of two sons who love to attend camps each summer. Christa’s latest book is Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.

Staff Contributor

Thank you for allowing us to share the area's go-to resource with you and your family.