Camp fosters children’s self-reliance

Summer camp is a stepping-stone to self-reliance!

Camp is a stepping-stone to self-reliance! It is one community in which children can learn to navigate on their own without well-intentioned parental course-plotting to avert choppy waters. It can be an incredible journey for children to recognize their own power in steering their own destinies. Michigan State University Extension hosts plenty of camps that offer opportunities for decision-making and problem-solving. These opportunities  foster a sense of success and self-actualization in children, which allow them to discover their strengths and their abilities to make good choices and to influence positive outcomes for themselves.

After all, coaching kids to feel capable is what camp directors do. The task for parents is to support their children with just the right combination of backup and encouragement. (A well-meaning parent can actually perpetuate a cycle that prevents a child from being independent.) Kids learn quickly to rely upon themselves and the adults they trust at camp instead of their parents.

Parents should remember that camp directors have a reservoir of experiences to back their counsel to them. And, rest assured, they have your child’s best interests at heart and the skill to guide your child towards an appropriate level of independence, self-confidence and success.

Keep in mind that kids often triumph over their adjustment to a new environment before their parents can accept the next stage of their development! Do not offer to rescue your child; that only confirms for him that you believe he cannot cope with something that is difficult.

Get on board with the notion of supporting kids to solve their own problems or asking a trusted counselor for help. Let your child experience the world on their own – in the safe, supportive environment of camp, instead of the one you sculpt for her during the rest of the year. Help children picture success for themselves at camp!

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