Did You Know?
Fun and play are naturally associated with summer camp experiences. But did you know there are also longer-term and very positive effects that attending summer camp can have on a child? Here are 8 things that summer camps can contribute to your child’s overall growth and development.
1. Socializing & Making Friends
Children yearn to have a sense of belonging and have caring relationships with their peers. While summertime can bring vacations and a much longed-for absence of homework, it can also bring disconnection from school friends. Camp offers a summertime peer group, often with kids of similar interests, and a great environment in which to make new friends, all with the guidance of adult camp counselors.
2. Exercise & Limited Screen Time
A majority of summer camps will offer physical activity and little to no access to screen time for campers. Camp, traditionally, is a time to be outdoors and engaged in a variety of activities, whether they be sport or water-related, skill-based or thrill-seeking. Think ball sports, kayaking, swimming, archery, ropes courses or motorcycle/ATV riding.
It can be hard these days to limit your child’s screen time when they, and you, are surrounded by iphones, laptops, desktops, tv’s and game players to entice them into physical inactivity. Some schools even reinforce the habit by asking students to bring in personal smart phones to use in the classroom!
Camp is an environment that naturally limits screen time through the very nature of their physical and cognitive programs. They also tend to have policies in place that either forbid computer technology or have very strict times of use – like checking in with parents by phone at designated times. See the link below to read what the World Health Org (WHO) says about this topic. https://www.who.int/news/item/04-04-2002-physical-inactivity-a-leading-cause-of-disease-and-disability-warns-who
3. Fresh Air & Nature
Number 2 above is often associated with being in the outdoors and, for many camps, in a beautiful setting. Camp can be a gateway to the natural world. And being in the natural world means feeling connected to nature, whether that be flora or fauna. In our modern world full of technology and living much of our lives in-doors, time outside enjoying the natural world through activities like horseback riding, hiking, swimming and stargazing means kids become more grounded. That is, feeling at home in nature and having a solid sense of belonging to the greater world in which we exist. Humans, after all, are animals too! See the link below for more on how being in nature effects our sense of wellbeing.
4. Education, Development & Discovery
Through lessons, classes, practice and experiences, all camps offer some form of education, personal development, and discovery to campers. And all through activities that children enjoy.
Kids get to try things in summer camp that they might never be able to try at home; they can discover a lifelong interest and develop new skills. Think, water-skiing, canoeing, dirt bike riding, and zip-lining. Or camps that teach magic, science, engineering, or theatre-arts. Children can discover a passion in summer camp not experienced in school or in neighborhood life. Sometimes a summer camp experience will be the only means by which a child discovers a love for an activity that is maintained for years and quite possibly through adulthood.
Many camps have junior counselor (JC) or counselor-in-training (CIT) programs in which campers can aspire to participate in and learn to take on a leadership role within a safe setting. Many an adult camp counselor has had their beginnings as a JC/CIT in their favorite summer camp as youngsters. Kids can learn the value of service and helping others and in return gain a huge increase in self-esteem. Roles like these contribute to making an impressive resume for that first paying job as well as for applications to college and beyond.
6. Positive Role Models
Camps provide your child the opportunity to interact with good adult role models. Overall, the more healthy and positive adult relationships that your child has, the more likely he/she will thrive in all areas long after camp ends. Good teachers and coaches at school certainly count as role models, no doubt. But young adults and older teen leaders in summer camps are seen by kids as being particularly energetic and “cool”. . . often a little more relatable than one’s own parents. Kids look up to them. Camps that have leadership training programs (as described in #5 above) let all campers see a path to emulate.
Each of the six reasons above contributes to our 7th reason – Confidence.
Ultimately, developing confidence is something children have to do for themselves. While it’s up to the adults around them to create opportunities for doing so, it’s the act of the child going through the that experience that increases his/her confidence level.
You can’t ‘give’ anyone confidence, and that includes children. Summer camps are places where kids can safely challenge themselves while having fun and socializing. All those positive experiences over time get internalized into what we refer to as ‘self-confidence’.
8. Making Memories
As simplicity in our lives disappears in our daily routines, it becomes that much more important for children to preserve memories of times spent playing outdoors, laughing, making new friends, learning new things, and challenging themselves. Camps help kids keep those memories strong with photos, videos, camp songs and traditions, life lessons, and even camp gear and swag. For many adults who attended summer camp, pulling out those old camp t-shirts or lanyards brings back a flood of good memories – reminders of what has been gained in life through these experiences and a desire to create these opportunities for their own children.
Iron Horse Country, The Motocross Summer Camp for Kids incorporates all 8 reasons listed above into both Day and Overnight camp sessions.
Kids bond easily here as, together, they learn the exciting sport of dirt bike riding on a beautiful 100 acre Texas Hill Country ranch full of both flora and fauna!
Our counselors are top notch people who share a passion for teaching children how to ride in the great outdoors. Most all of our campers have attended our sessions over multiple years with many parents giving us feedback that our camp is the only camp their child wants to attend.
We started a junior counselor program many years ago that thrives to this day and is an integral part of daily camp life. We love seeing how our campers grow and blossom over the summers that we are lucky enough to share with them.
Capturing lasting memories has been a part of camp life since Day 1. Every session provides campers with our traditional group photo under the “Picture Tree”, individual “Jump Photo” on the Horseshoe Track and at least 4 gigs of photos and videos every week, given to parents on Fridays – no extra charge! And, boy, do we have the gear! Iron Horse t-shirts, MX jerseys, hats and other swag items are always available as an optional purchase for those that want that extra tangible memory.
Over the last 15 years of providing what is these days a rare type of summer camp, we have seen how deeply and positively our camp experience can affect those who attend. The attention and care we give our kids combined with the exciting and confidence-building activity of riding a real motorcycle creates a summer camp experience that resonates strongly with our campers and makes them want to return again and again.
See the link below for more info on our camp!