Sunday, August 09, 2009
Summer Camp: Friends, Fun, and Foundation for the Future
By Grace Chen
Mosquito bites, marshmallows, bunk beds and bonfires are the essence of summer camp—a seasonal tradition for many families. Kids enjoy meeting new friends and the great outdoors, while parents get a small respite from the daily choruses of, "I'm bored," and "But there's nothing to do!"
At camp, there is plenty to do. A great summer camp experience is built on activity, and camp life offers the opportunity for a number of exciting pursuits.
Crafts are an oldie-but-goody camp experience. Ideas for craft projects include time-honored standbys such as finger puppets and key chains. Campers might also enjoy more up-to-date crafts, such as hand stitching and decorating small cloth bags for storage and transport of MP3 players or cell phones.
Cooking or baking classes are both fun and educational, and offer the opportunity to promote good health and nutrition as well as develop kitchen confidence and teach kitchen safety.
A myriad of activities can be planned to hold the attention and further the education of curious campers.
- Water Fun - Most summer camps have a lake, river, beach or pool nearby, and water activities are always a popular part of the summertime experience for many camp goers. In addition to swimming and traditional water games, lake-loving campers might get a kick out of zooming across the water on a banana boat sled.
Available with seating from three to ten passengers, banana sleds are easily towed behind a powerboat, and are equipped with handgrips and foot rests for safety and comfort. Or, camp goers might enjoy aquatic acrobatics on a water trampoline. These buoyant bouncers, crafted of sturdy, inflatable PVC, combine the best of land and sea for splashy, springy fun.
- Fun for the Land Lovers - Nature hiking, bird watching, collecting stones or leaves, and sharing stories around a bonfire are traditional outdoor camping pastimes. Outdoor games and sports also play a big role at camp, and entertain as well as promote physical fitness.
Perhaps the most enjoyable and beneficial aspect of camp life is learning to work beside, trust in, and interact with others. Activities leading toward a common goal—team sports, producing a play or show, or improving the campground's appearance via cleaning and landscaping—help create and cement relationships. Principles of truth, honesty, trust, and integrity are reinforced by these important interactions. Working together promotes teamwork, fosters tolerance, and teaches diversity. Other unification ideas include volunteer projects for nearby communities or fundraising for charities.
A great summer camp experience extends beyond macaroni picture frames and relay races to become an integral building block in the lives of young campers. The activities and experiences of camp cultivate principles of physical fitness and good nutrition, curiosity in and conservation of nature, and understanding of teamwork, goal-setting, and selflessness. And, somewhere between the sunburns and s'mores, a strong character is molded—one lasting long after summer's end.
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