Parenting Win of the Week: The Transformative Power of Summer Camp

Time away, fun activities, and memories they'll cherish for the rest of their lives.

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Camp counselor playing tag with group of laughing young kids in grass field at summer camp

Photo by: Thomas Barwick

Thomas Barwick

Some parents relish the first day of school, I relish the first day of camp! Not just because it gets us on a good summer routine, but because I know how transformative it is.

My boys are both currently at day camp, but when I was in middle school I became an overnight camper and eventually a counselor and supervisor. That was when I created some of my most cherished memories and learned some of my most impactful life lessons. I hope that one day my boys do go to overnight camp, but I am already seeing such an impact in these few years at day camp. Here are the wins so far:

1. They Meet Friends from All Over the Area

There are school friends and then there are camp friends. Although there is some crossover, I love that my boys get to see faces that they don’t often see during the school year and they can pick up like no time has passed.

2. They Learn Sportsmanship

Being at a sports camp, games can get heated — especially amongst a bunch of competitive, sporty kids. But what I love about this camp is that they make sure the most important elements go back to sportsmanship and being a good person. And if there are moments where your kid is having a tough time with that, they’ll work to coach them so they understand. This I know will pay dividends later in life.

3. They Get to Be Together

My boys fight like any siblings do, but they never get to be in the same school together until high school. Now they may not love it, but there is something awesome about seeing the two of them get on the bus together in the morning and having a commonality, even if they are in different groups.

4. They Move ALL DAY LONG

We all become accustomed to winters where we just want to cozy up and watch TV, but in the summer and especially at camp, they are active all day long. They come home exhausted, but also super pumped for what is to come the next day.

5. They Can Focus on Just Being Kids

Epic color wars, cool field trips, and funny things their friends do. All of these create great memories. There is also less worry in camp than in school, so kids can focus on just being kids. The lessons aren’t as overt as they are taught in school, but I know that they are there.

There is a reason #10for2 is a thing, especially after the last two years. Although COVID-19 is still very present, it’s nice to see the kids go back to (a new) normal and just let loose this summer.

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