If your child could design a perfect summer, it would probably include plenty of playmates, new things to do every day, and a place to cool off when the summer sun gets too hot.
Year after year, kids discover such perfect summers at day or overnight camp. At overnight camps, in particular, boys and girls learn something about themselves, their environment, and even about their parents, by spending a few weeks away from home. The mother of 8-year-old Rachel discovered that firsthand.
After her first summer at overnight camp, Rachel ordered her mother out of the bathroom while she showered. "She won't let me wash her hair anymore," her mother complained to a friend.
"Isn't that one of the reasons you sent her to camp?" her friend asked in response.
Indeed, it should be. Camping fosters independence in its participants, while giving your child a feel for group living.
Camp broadens social skills and often taps resources your child never had to call on before. Your child will learn to get along with new types of people, too. Rachel, for example, often gets a much-needed break from cliquish school friends by reuniting with her summertime camp friends.
In addition to the social benefits, a summer spent in the mountains or woods heightens your child's awareness of the relationship between humans and nature.