Benefit of summer camp for child development

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Benefit of summer camp for child development

Stephen Wallace: The benefits of a summer camp experience for children are always impossible to calculate. But the American Camp Association has studied this with kids from all over the country. And they find that that experience results in things like appreciation for nature, better socialization skills, spirituality, connectedness with other people, skill development, confidence and a host of other positive outcomes of that summer camp experience. In my own research, I have found that summer camp experience help kids in 3 very critical areas of development. The first is with regard to sense of self, which is a combination of identity formation, independence, becoming more independent from their parents, and peer relationships. Establishing more adult like lasting relationships with their peer group. The second is with positive risk taking. Summer camps are filled with opportunities to go outside of one’s boundaries, if you will. Or comfort zone. Which are trying new things; make new discoveries, new achievements. The third is rites of passage. In our society, we no longer have very many formal rites of passage that help kids feel recognized for gaining maturity and achieving things. Summer camps are filled with rites of passage. And the fourth is with regard to mentoring. Mentoring is a tremendously powerful construct. And camps provide opportunities for kids to be both mentored and to mentor others.

Watch Video: Benefit of summer camp for child development by Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed, ...


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Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed

School Psychologist & Author

Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., is president and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE), a national collaborative of institutions and organizations committed to increasing favorable youth outcomes and reducing risk. He is a consultant to summer camps on staff training and teen leadership programming and has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent/family counselor. Stephen is a member of the professional development faculty at the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Camp Association and a parenting expert at, NBC News Learn and WebMD. He is also an expert partner at RANE (Risk Assistance Network & Exchange) and was national chairman and chief executive officer at SADD for more than 15 years. Additional information about Stephen’s work can be found at

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