Pretty soon, the school bell will ring for the final time this year. Backpacks will be emptied and flip flops will emerge. Another sign summer is here? It will be time for the magical experience of summer camp!
You may be wondering if a sleep away or overnight summer camp is right for your child. According to experts, the answer is probably yes. Going away to camp gives children the opportunity to forge new relationships, gain independence, solve problems, and develop a strong sense of self.
Here in Greensboro, we are lucky to have a premier ACA (American Camp Association) Accredited camp right in our backyard. YMCA Camp Weaver offers 100 Acres of gorgeous rolling hills, wooded areas, fields, hiking trails, lakes, creeks, shaded spaces and modern cabins and facilities that provide an ideal setting for both overnight and day camp. Camp Weaver may be just minutes from downtown, but it’s miles away in terms of the experiences and lifelong memories hundreds of campers make each year. Camp Weaver focuses on teaching kids the skills they need to take on the challenges of life and school.
Did you know that beyond the obvious fun of camp activities, there are lifelong benefits to attending overnight camp? According to Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist, 2014 ACA National Conference keynote speaker and co-author of the bestselling book, The Whole-Brain Child, sending a child to summer camp is good for children’s brains and promotes independence, confidence, friendship-building, resilience, thriving, character and grit.
In 2012, YMCAs across the nation began surveying the parents about their children’s camp experiences. Over 14,000 surveys have been collected each year since. Some of the key findings include:
- Sixty nine percent of parents responded that their child’s overnight camp experience provided skill building and knowledge gain of some sort, a strong marker of achievement at camp, and sixty two percent of parents reported that the program provided their child with an opportunity to discover their potential to achieve.
- Seventy five percent of parents reported that their child felt a sense of belonging at camp, as camp groups provide opportunities for shared experiences and teamwork
- Seventy three percent of parents reported that their children made new friends at camp and seventy one percent of parents noted a relationship between their child and staff at camp, demonstrating that the small group living environment of overnight camp provides unique opportunities for peer and adult relationships to flourish
As electronic devices become a greater part of our lives, the need for fresh air and play, is increasingly important. In his book, The Second Machine Age, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson points out that technology is replacing skills now as children are spending too much time in front of “screens.” Creativity and innovation are becoming competitive advantages in a machine-oriented world, because machines can’t be creative themselves! Overnight camp gives children the chance to disconnect from screens and unplug from iPads, iPhones, electronic gaming and TVs to learn and enjoy new activities.
Children at overnight camp are able to experience new physical activities and programs that challenge their skill levels and provide growth opportunities. At Camp Weaver, these activities include horseback riding, skateboarding, canoeing, basketball, hiking, ropes courses, lake and pool swimming, archery, organic gardening, caring for foster farm animals, and campfires– all of which help to boost creativity and confidence. Campers are also exposed to other cultures by interacting with international staff and campers. Camp Weaver participants make lifelong friends with campers from all over the world!
This is an exciting time at Camp Weaver. This summer, the camp will feature mountain biking, paintball obstacle courses, outdoor cooking, new climbing tower and a major expansion of the multimedia program. Camp Weaver also offers opportunities for the young at heart, with a ropes course and conference facilities for corporate groups and meetings.
Don’t let your child miss out on the opportunity to forge friendships and gain skills that will last a lifetime. Concerned about finances? Camp Weaver scholarships are available. Please visit campweaver.org or call 336-697-0525 for more information and check out Facebook and Instagram (ymcacampweaver) for the latest news and photos from camp.