Been wondering what the benefits of overnight trips are for campers (and parents too)?
There are actually several!
- In general, campers gain independence at camp, but going on overnight trips sends that into overdrive. On top of being away from home, setting up tents, building a campfire, and trying new things with a group of friends boosts that sense of independence like nothing else.
- On overnight trips, campers are responsible for their physical things: clothing, blankets, tents, etc. but they are also responsible for intangible items like their choices- do they want to do this activity, ride this rollercoaster, go down that water slide?
- Because parents aren’t around to help them make connections with people, campers develop social skills which, in turn, provides a boost of self-esteem.
- Being away from home and making choices for themselves, and meeting those new friends, developing those connections, gives campers a different sort of confidence that parents can’t instill in children alone.
- When campers face victories away from their parents, they know that victory belongs to them, including beating homesickness. It’s something they went through either by themselves or with the comfort of friends and counselors, conquered, and moved past on their own. The resilience built by overcoming obstacles like homesickness helps develop a grit that helps you get through the hard times in life, school, etc.
- Camp in general, and especially when overnight trips are peppered in, is the best way to emotionally prepare for college– you’re living each day in a community of people, you have to keep track of your belongings, you learn how to make friends, and how to get along with people you might not be overly friendly with, and you’re on your own making these choices. Some college admissions officers see campers as more likely to succeed at college because they’ve had successful experiences being away from home already.
- That sense of independence your camper picked up may translate to home life! You may find that your camper begins doing their chores, homework, etc. on their own, without constant reminder from you!
- Likewise with responsibility– you’ll see campers take ownership of their belongings, choices, etc.
- You’ll also see a new level of appreciation from your camper- most likely, after being away from home, campers learn to appreciate having their own room, a refrigerator full of snacks whenever they want them, and most importantly, YOU!
- Parents also need to prepare emotionally for their camper’s eventual departure to college. Overnight trips get parents used to the idea of their camper not being around every single day. Having your child leave for college can be just as hard (or harder!) for parents as it is for the student themselves.