Seven ways Summer camp encourages self realization

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7 ways summer camp encourages self-realizationThis is part of a series of Summer Camp posts brought to you by Camp Wood, YMCA.

It is Summer camp time!!! Are you signing your children up? There is still time! What is holding you back? Some of my most treasured memories are from camp. I remember the friends, the crafts, the food, and especially learning how to be just myself, away from my family and comforts of home.

Summer camp encourages interpersonal growth in a way that few other experiences can.  When you find a Summer camp that is the perfect fit for your child and family, you can rest assured that your child will learn and grow about themselves. And they will also have fun. So much fun!

Here are 7 ways Summer camp encourages self-realization.  Share in the comments other ways you think it can help children grow and mature! 

  1. Stepping out of their comfort zone – At Summer camp, children learn how to make decisions without relying on parents or their go-to comforts. This can be incredibly empowering – or super scary. If your child is ready to experience independence, then taking them out of their routines and comfort zones creates the perfect environment for reflection and growth.
  2. Structured independence – When you find a camp that fits your child perfectly, s/he will have structure – a very important key to growing and maturing.  The boundaries of camp and the trained staff are all tools that will help build self-confidence, assertiveness, and courage in your child.
  3. Social Situations – Summer camps place kids in group situations that teaches them a plethora of social skills including team work, trust, judgement and conflict management.  There are team games, social living quarters, and various interactions that lend to this.  Some kids will learn how to work with others, some will discover parts of their personalities that don’t lend well to social situations, others will discover how much they enjoy working in groups.  Above all, this experience is unmatched in how it brings self-awareness.
  4. Team work in activities – Just like above, the activities they will partake in will teach the child how to best work as a team.  Some of my favorite memories include the cabin games – the friendly competition that helped us all work together. What is wonderful about this is the staff is trained to help the children learn about themselves and how to work through whatever is holding them back from enjoying camp and the other kids.
  5. Encouraged to be who they are by the trained staff – leaders are given the chance to lead! The staff of a camp really does make a huge difference in how much your child enjoys the experience.  A quality trained staff will notice the qualities of each individual child and do what they can to encourage them to be who they are.  Leaders will get a chance to lead, encourages to cheer them on, creators to create and thinkers to analyze.
  6. Feeds their hunger for adventure, sparks interest – At camp, kids learn what they love and what they really don’t care for (ok, what they really despise!).  I learned how much I didn’t enjoy arts and crafts at Summer camp. To this day I don’t really do them, even with my kids (oh my poor kids).  But I learned how much I loved leading team activities.  And if you find a camp that is geared to a specific interest you can help them have an even fiercer hunger to learn more about it!
  7. Emotional muscles grow and stretch –  Children are all so different- from shy to extremely extroverted.  Camp lets them grow these muscles! The trained staff will be there to talk through situations – like home sickness at night or hurt feelings from friends during the day.  As the child works through these rough patches, they will be so much wiser, stronger, and more confident the next time they encounter it.

Your turn!! I want to hear from you – how do you think camp helps with self-realization?

Written by:: Annie

Annie Shultz has written 2054 post in this blog.

She is THE Mama Dweeb πŸ™‚ She created this blog back in 2009 and loves to inspire and connect with others through her writing. She also loves talking, dreaming, 90s pop and country music.


  1. says

    I went to summer camp as a child & teen, and loved it! Those are all great reasons to go, and why my kids will hopefully be able to go at least once, if they choose to.

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      I am so glad you had such an amazing experience at camp that you want to send your kids πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to sending my kids too!

  2. says

    I went to camp once for a couple weeks when I was in Girl Scouts and had a lot of fun. I really should look into something like this for my kids… if nothing else they get to do something fun without me around and I get a mini break! LOL!

  3. says

    I can’t wait till my 2 oldest are ready for camp. During high school I was a camp counselor and loved it! The girls had a blast and it was such a special time, especially for the kids going away for the first time. It was like watching a nest full of baby birds stretching their wings and loving it.

    Great list you compiled. A good read for any nervous Mom.

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      I have never been a camp counselor. But I have tons of friends that have and they all loved it too πŸ™‚

      Love that analogy of baby birds stretching their wings! That is exactly what it is like πŸ™‚ Thank you Andrea!

  4. says

    I thought about doing summer camp this year, but I decided that 6 years old is just a little young to send my son away for a week. When I went to summer camp as a kid I was totally forced to step out of my comfort zone. I was a shy introvert, but for the most part I had a blast making new friends and doing all the fun things you do at summer camp.

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      Amy, moms really do know their kids best. And it sounds like you know your son is just not ready yet. I am glad you are listening to his cues πŸ™‚

      And I love hearing that as a shy introvert you still had fun and made friends. That is great for nervous moms to hear πŸ™‚

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      So you enjoyed Summer camp? that is so encouraging to hear for moms that are scared their nervous kids won’t have fun πŸ™‚

  5. says

    You are so spot on with these reasons and the sad part is that they’re largely part of the reason I never went. I hated being out of my comfort zone, still do actually, but now I’m just mature enough to make me do things that stretch me.

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      Thank you Liz πŸ™‚ And yeah….getting out of your comfort zone is just harder for some people than others.

      I have seen the experiences you have had through your blog. They make me smile πŸ™‚

  6. says

    My girls love camp. I love that they meet new friends and branch out and do activities that they might not have tried otherwise.

  7. says

    I totally agree. Through summer camps, children learn working in a team and to do social activities with other children. It leads to the overall development of children.

    • Annie @ Mama Dweeb says

      Thank you Steven! You are right on – it does lead to the overall development. So many key social development milestones are achieved!

  8. Ali says

    I love this! I also believe that a Summer Day Camp does the same thing! For all of the children and parents that do not want an overnight experience, their child will still learn all of these skills. I am a former day camper and my children currently attend. There is definitely something to be said about the bonding and growing that can happen over a span of eight weeks!!

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