A Manitou camp experience gives your kids not just what they want …but what they need.
Each spring, we write a short article about camp, parenting and our goals for the Manitou summer. Although obvious to many of us who are camper parents, it is important to remind you that a summer camp experience really does change our kids for the better.
Headlines in recent articles and blogs in the past few months include:
• What Really Happens When We Give Kids Everything They Want?
• 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviours That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders
• The Kids Don’t Play Anymore
• Summer Camp: Can It Make Kids More Responsible?
A common theme emerges: despite our best intentions, today’s parents may not be equipping their children with the best tools to grow into independent, competent adults.
It’s not that parenting was better or worse in previous generations; in fact we believe that parents today have a special relationship with their children, possibly greater than in any prior generation; exposing them to more enriching experiences and wonderful opportunities than ever before.
Parents enjoy a closeness with their children that yesterday’s generation may never had had. The previous generation of moms and dads were a bit more ‘hands off’, allowing their children to take risks, assume responsibility for their setbacks and be a few steps removed from their day-to-day lives. One outcome of today’s style of parenting is that there is a reluctance to let our children truly experience risk; we tend to rescue too quickly, to swoop in and fix a situation that might be best left up to them. Simply put, we don’t allow our kids to see that setbacks and that failures are actually a wonderful opportunity for long-term successes and happiness.
The most compelling outcome of a summer camp experience is that it accomplishes what your kid’s need, in a way that is easy for them to accept, embrace and carry forward. Camp provides children with skills that, as parents, we are not always able to deliver. “Camp is the vessel that holds the fun which is the transportation to success and happiness.” (ACA MAGAZINE February 2014).
Study after study clearly proves that overnight camp increases your child’s confidence, problem solving skills, self-esteem, maturity, independence and social acumen. As a result, children at summer camp learn one of the most critical skills that adults require to be happy and successful: resilience. Resilience develops at a simple level, where genuine “play” is the most powerful tool to foster social skills: it teaches kids how to manage negative emotions and take manageable risks. Play allows children to make their own decisions and solve problems within a structured and safe environment in a subtle manner, with caring and nurturing staff providing key role modeling and support. Play is fun and occurs at camp in a natural, beautiful setting which allows for the most positive outcome possible.
We firmly believe at Manitou that we can offer your kids the chance to experience an honest culture of acceptance, inclusion, appreciation and, above all, respect. Inspiration comes through key messages all summer long, whether at Friday Night Fireside, Community Week, insightful guest speakers or through our many Manitou Cares initiatives.
Every one of our camp directors walks the walk; it is about providing each of our campers with the toolbox to make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others.
At camp your child will explore, make new and unexpected friendships, learn strong values and build character. They will also connect with and appreciate their environment, learn to take safe risks and problem solve. Our campers will figure out how to make healthy decisions and at the same time value their own sense of physical well-being. This is all done in a place where direct communication with Mom or Dad is not available, allowing them to truly own their successes and failures: a key component on their journey towards maturity. This independence and newly found resilience will benefit them for life. Our hope is that in the end we have helped contribute in our “Manitou Way”, to give your child what you want for them most: happiness.
Once again we thank you for entrusting your kids to us, here’s to a great and healthy summer.
Mark Diamond & Jeff Wilson, Camp Directors/Owners