Camp’s Social Teachings Vital to Child Development
Camp provides social opportunities that can’t be experienced in other venues, like schools. Social life at school is not likely to provide truly wholesome, guided, and nurtured opportunities to make sincere friends and to respect others. Over the years of our parent surveys, an overwhelming majority of our parents noted their child’s improvement in the quality of relationships with others as a result of their child’s camp attendance.
School teachers provide valuable learning tools inside the classroom. We often employ teachers as counselors and recognize the positive character traits they want to instill in students. At camp, camp professionals are employed to facilitate children’s interpersonal dealings. In schools, teachers’ interpersonal dealings don’t necessarily have the kind of consistency we work with at camp. Here, our camp professionals are able to practice daily that consistency, are specifically trained around social issues, and have both the time and relaxed atmosphere to do it well.
At camp, we redefine the word “supportive” and give children new perspectives on what daily life and an empowering community can be like for them. We believe that children deserve the chance to see that there is something different from the pressures that surround the school environment…all of life is not a relentless competition, and there can be multiple forms of achievement and popularity among peers. At Camp Kupugani, they can have fun changing their world.
A recent study underscores the importance of providing an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion at an early age. In the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia concluded that “Babies learn about bullying as early as nine months,” and that we humans have a great tendency to discern who is like us and who is not and this “might be very basic to human socialization.” Indeed information from friends, family, people at school, and personal experiences lead children to form likes and dislikes; they tend to surround themselves with people who are similar.
At camp, we get to challenge this “instinct” by providing a uniquely progressive atmosphere. At camp, we’re able to emphasize caring, respectful, guided socialization. As we intentionally structure diversity and mixing it up, campers get to meaningfully interact with many different types of kids. This means that children will interact with others that may be very dissimilar to them. They are then able to form relationships by improving their abilities to care, respect and learn about one another, and find commonalities beyond the surface. Children leave camp with enhanced social skills and higher quality relationships!