When was the last time you skipped stones over water, climbed a tree, dug in the sand, contemplated life under a starry night sky, played ball in the rain or even felt cool blades of grass in between your toes, and under your bare feet?
When was the last time your child experienced what you may have?
Welcome to the Magic of Wilderness Summer Camps! The days spent independently at a camp stays as memories for a lifetime. I am told that children return from camps with endless stories to tell. For days after a camp, they are still reliving different moments experienced. They keep in touch with friends made at the camp for years because the intensity of the interaction and the dependence on each other through the camp enable deep understanding and trust which one may not get even with people one has known for years. At a camp, sooner or later, you expose your most vulnerable self and when that happens in a supportive environment, deep relationships are formed.
Our children’s generation, is surrounded by a concrete jungle in the outdoors & technology in the indoors. It is not only a challenge to find the outdoors within the city limits, it is not always safe to let our children romp around independently. By continually watching their every move, we take away an opportunity for them to grow through experience.
Wilderness camps provide children the opportunity to do things they might not otherwise have the chance to. In taking kids out of the protective (and sometimes over-protective) home environment, they learn to fend for themselves and become responsible and independent; in experiencing success and enjoying when trying new activities, they build an openness and willingness to experiment and take risks; in realizing that they can only complete tasks by working together, they learn empathy and collaboration; in figuring out where the next step should be placed so they don’t fall on a trek or while climbing a rock, they learn judgement & decision making; in living with basics & scarce resources, they learn the difference between their needs and their wants; finally in making friends in a social melting pot, they learn to trust and accept people for who they are. The range of experiences and emotions the kids go through in a short duration make their experience intense.
As a kid put it once, “It gave me my Life!”