An experience away from home is beneficial for the development of healthy boys who will grow into healthy adults.
While there is nothing as important to a child’s growth as their parents, it is also invaluable to give children the opportunity to have an experience away from their parents. This time away from home gives children the space to stretch their wings. Campers mature in their responsibility for self-care and their ability to live with a diverse group of peers. They learn to find comfort in being themselves and are faced with challenges that test their comfort zones. They discover how competent they are and become more independent.
As parents of three children, we know it is difficult to offer these types of growth opportunities because we are SO present and cannot help but meddle a bit!
At camp, the effect of young adult role models, their counselors, cannot be underestimated. Counselors are better equipped to back away and give children space to figure things out for themselves. Advice or guidance is better received coming from the “super cool” young adult counselor. And while the adoration and praise of a parent is crucial to the development of healthy kids, the truth is, kids undervalue the praise because, in their minds, they believe parents have to say that stuff! At camp, however, imagine how powerful it is for a child to be told by someone unrelated to them, and that they think is the coolest guy out there, that they are terrific. The impact of this kind of affirmation simply cannot be duplicated at home.
Being out from underneath our parental wings for some period of time helps our children grow into themselves.