Calling All Campers! Guess What I Brought Home From Summer Camp!

Sarah Coburn


Are you deciding whether to send your child away to camp? Certainly, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the backyard or at a playground, but camps can provide children with certain experiences not commonly found out your backdoor. In addition to a few new freckles and a handful of bug bites, camps are designed to help children return home with lifelong friendships, newfound confidences, and a healthy sense of independence. It’s challenging to put into words all that I gained from attending summer camp, and the enriching experiences I hope for your child, but if you know me you know I love a challenge…

When I was just 7 years old, my parents took me to a summer camp fair at our local high school and asked me to choose which camp I wanted to attend the following summer. I chose a traditional, all-girls summer camp in New Hampshire, mostly because the camp pictured girls eating ice cream, and I assumed I would get to eat ice cream for every meal. Little did I know, that camp would soon become my home away from home; and no, we didn’t get to eat ice cream at every meal.

In total, I spent more than 20 summer months at this camp nestled along the shores of a quaint, little lake. I truly credit my summer camp experience for many things including how to properly set a table, get up on waterskies, and the opportunity to explore and form my own identity. To this day, many of my closest friends are those who I met at camp. I was even lucky enough to be roommates with one of my camp friends after graduating from college!

According to the late child development pioneer, John Bowlby, children are designed by nature to form attachments with others. In fact, these bonds we form are our basis for survival. While children [typically] form their primary attachment with their mother at birth, the formation of other attachments during childhood and adolescence become critical for their healthy development, as well as a determinant of their social development.

Summer camp can provide a wonderful gateway to building healthy relationships and play a major role in fostering an array of healthy virtues in children including the formation of trust between counselors and campers, a healthy sense of independence that comes from being away from home, taking the initiative to try new things, and the wonderful sense of satisfaction that comes from accomplishing these tasks. Together they can promote children and adolescents’ burgeoning sense of identity. However, these experiences may not come without an initial adjustment. Children may suddenly find themselves away from their parent(s), which can make a child nervous or sad. This will prompt them to reach out and form relationships with their counselors and fellow campers. This is good news! These experiences can help children strengthen their ability to communicate effectively while developing their healthy sense of initiative and personal identity.

Between the ages of six and twelve children are growing exponentially. Their desire to explore things that interest them, and discover what they are capable of, is essential to their healthy development. Children are also being introduced to more people and their peers are becoming an integral part of their experience. We know, from our own experiences, these newfound friendships can offer children encouragement and support to explore new activities, gain confidence and achieve goals! Research and our sheer instinct also tells us that when there is trust within a relationship, and we nurture children’s skills and abilities, they are more likely to continue to explore and discover their skills and abilities.

By nature, camps are designed to surround children with countless, positive role models from all walks of life. I had a variety of counselors I could look up to and I remember them having an array of interests and personalities – one counselor was studying biochemical engineering and another could belt out the tune of any song from any musical! This type of exposure allowed me to feel free to “try on different hats” and explore my interests.

There may be opportunities for your child to do things like create beautiful pottery or perform tricks on waterskies. For me, camp was the perfect place to learn to shoot a bow and arrow, perfect a back dive, and try new foods, all while being supported by counselors and fellow campers. Who know what hidden talent is waiting to emerge from your child!

The benefits of summer camp are not limited to children and adolescents; parents can benefit as well! Camp can offer parents a chance to regroup, knowing their child is in good hands. And, when children return home from camp parents may notice their child’s newfound sense of self. They may be more likely to help you clear the table without being asked or take initiative with new activities!

Are you ready to send your child away to camp?? Click here to search for the right camp for your child!


Sarah Coburn

Note: When selecting a camp for your child Sunkissed Families recommends parents inquire about behavioral management techniques and child care licensing. 


Get our parenting tips straight to your inbox!

* indicates required
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons