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Why You Should Send Your Kids to Camp

0Sending your kids to camp, whether it’s a day camp or sleep away camp, is a scary experience for most parents, myself included. It’s hard to entrust your most precious possessions to counselors, often kids themselves, and hope that they can calm your child’s fears and wipe away their tears as well as you can. As you’re considering your summer plans, I thought I’d offer my reasons why I think summer camp is the place to be when you’re a kid:

Responsibility: While there are counselors at camp to help children move successfully through their day, being away from home will give your child a strong sense of responsibility. They are expected to pick up after themselves, keep their areas neat and keep tabs on their possessions.

Independence: In today’s world, there are many helicopter parents who are afraid to let their children walk to the park on their own (ok, I admit I’m one of them). But at camp, in a controlled environment, kids get to feel that they’re on their own and responsible for making their own decisions.

Friendships: At camp, unlike at school, you create friendships out of shared experiences and a sense of mutual dependence. It’s an opportunity for your child to branch out from their regular circle of friends and learn how to connect with other kids in positive ways. It can also help teach them about diversity and tolerance of others.

Self-esteem: When a child learns and masters a new skill, they feel good about themselves. Camp is all about learning new skills and having new experiences.

How to work together: Whether it’s working together on a canoe trip or trying to win a camp-wide competition, camp is made up of a community of campers, counselors, instructors, and the camp director. At camp, your child will learn to live and get along with children from a variety of backgrounds

Learning to Slow Down: With no technology or electronic devices allowed at most camps, kids learn how to slow down, write actual letters, play cards, take walks and appreciate the wonder of the world around them. By unplugging and relaxing, they learn how to appreciate the slow lane for a while.

camp3Whether your kids are 3 or 13, I think camp is a great place. In Ottawa, there are so many different specialty camps to choose from that it's pretty easy to find something your kid would be interested in. My two girls are going to sleep away camp this summer, as they have for the past few years. And even though I miss them terribly, I know that it's the best place for them.

Will you send your child to a day camp or sleep away camp this summer? Please share your favorite Ottawa area camps with us!