Why should I send my child away to an overnight camp? Whether you have asked this question or not, it’s certainly a natural thought that may cross your mind as you begin to explore all of the different options for your children throughout the summer.
Sending your children away to camp is a big (and sometimes scary) decision, but it’s also a very exciting one too! The idea requires a lot of thought and discussion amongst the entire family. Whether or not everyone is on board with the idea, it’s a question that we hope families are asking and continue to ask for generations to come.
With another summer season just around the corner and many new families getting ready to join the O-AT-KA family, we wanted to share some of our biggest reasons why families should consider this big decision. While some reasons are more obvious than others, it never hurts to remind ourselves of the importance and value that an overnight camp experience can offer our youth.
Our biggest and probably most obvious reason why is to gain independence. Many of our new (and even returning) campers deal with feelings of homesickness in their first couple of days at camp. It is a natural reaction that we recognize and acknowledge amongst our campers. We specifically at O-AT-KA are proud to say that our staff is highly trained and prepared to deal with homesickness even before it hits. The experience of going away to camp is invaluable in terms of gaining independence from home and also building confidence in oneself.
Subsequent to becoming more independent, overnight camps offer kids the chance to take risks, try new things, and learn new skills all within a safe space. Most traditional, overnight camps offer a long list of activities for campers to choose from (from land sports to water sports, the arts, and wilderness trips etc.). Staff members are trained in their program areas, and they are excited and eager to teach and share those skills with their campers!
Overnight camp offers the chance to build relationships and make new friends. This is another obvious reason but a good reminder that camp is a place where kids form strong, lasting relationships and even make life-long friends from all over the world. These bonds can be formed at any camp but may be even stronger when kids are living together at camp.
Lastly, overnight camp offers a change in pace from the busy academic year and — perhaps even more obvious than that — a change of scenery. There is something to be said for time spent not only away from home, but also within nature where a new perspective can hopefully be found.
“May the lake, the trees, the wide spaces of the fields and all the nature sights and sounds of earth and air be unto us as gates whereby we may enter – and think quiet compelling thoughts.”
-Excerpts of the O-AT-KA Prayer