Monday, March 24, 2014

Embrace the Power of Camp!

Written by Sara Crombie
Guest blogger and camp leader extraordinaire

It’s powerful, fun, life-changing and available right in your own community!

It causes parents to strategically plan which weeks to take the family vacation, children choose to miss birthday parties and they develop skills that will help carry them through life. Summer can never come fast enough, and many times the countdown to “the big event” begins in January. What am I talking about, you might ask. SUMMER CAMP, of course!!

For decades, youth across the globe have been participating in summer camp programs. Overnight camps, sports camps, day camps, theater camps, robotics camps and hundreds of other options all coming together to bring the youth of today a wonderful experience they will never forget. Watch adults smile as they remember the glory of their camp days. Watch children’s faces light up as they talk about all the fun they have during their camp summers. For those lucky enough to experience it, camp seems to become a way of life. It’s where tie-die is the accepted fashion trend, everyone wears friendship bracelets and no one judges your horrible “camp tan”.

However camp is more than personal stories and experiences. Camp does kids a world of good! Countless research studies and journal articles are able to support all of the great things camp does for children. According to a study done by the American Camp Association, “children who attend camp become more confident and build increased self-esteem. Children develop more social skills that help them make new friends. Children grow more independent and show more leadership in decision-making qualities. Children become more adventurous and willing to try new things. Children gain mastery in core emotional areas such as resilience and self-regulation,” (2004). If research proves that children gain all of these and more, while having a fantastic summer with friends and creating positive relationships with adult role models, why wouldn’t you want your child to go to camp?!

My love for camp really developed once I began working as a counselor.
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing campers grow socially and developmentally across the span of a summer and seeing what an impact you can have on them. To see kids’ eyes light up as they finally master some craft or sport, to watch them come out of their shells and gain confidence, and to watch them grow year after year makes the job of camp counselor unlike any other.

I have worked summer camps for over six years and would not change a minute of it! I can honestly say it has helped make me who I am today. Being able to see campers out in the community during the school year and have them run up to tell me a quick life update, tell a “remember that one day at camp” story, or my absolute favorite – when they run up to me and start rattling off their thoughts and ideas of how camp can be better this summer. “Sara, we should do this.” “How about this?” “Can you make sure I’m in Purple group this year?” “What if we did this all-camp activity?”

To help a child experience the power of camp is one of the best gifts to give. Then once you experience it, you’ll probably want to share it with anyone who will listen as well. Embrace it, and experience the power of camp. You won’t regret it!

This summer, the camp experience is offered for ages 6-12 through Jump Start Traditional Camp at Friendship Park, ages 5-12 at Camp Friendship at Hannah Park and CORE (at Friendship Park) for ages 12-14. Please call 614-342-4250 or visit the Camp page at for details.