How Summer Camp Makes a Difference

Summer Camp Develops Confidence!Some people say all they really need to know they learned in Kindergarten. But Audrey Monke argues that actually happens at summer camp. It’s easy to dismiss summertime fun as nothing more than just that, fun. But research shows that high quality, engaging camp experiences can be much, much more!

For example, inquiry for a recent article in the Journal of Leisure Research asked people who attended summer camp as kids how it affected them long term. These former campers said that their experiences at camp helped them build relationship skills, independence and a willingness to try new things.

The American Camp Association recently conducted the largest study of American camps ever undertaken. It collected data at 92 randomly selected camps and had more than 50,000 families from around the country participate. Their findings confirmed that camp builds skills needed to become successful adults. Parents, campers and camp staff all reported that campers’ self-confidence, independence, ability to make friends, willingness to explore and openness to new activities all increased.

In this video, former campers who took part in the survey explain how their experiences helped them learn to meet new people, work together in a group and make valuable connections with others. All say these relationship building skills were crucial to their success in higher education and early careers. In another video, learn how summer camp helped these former campers develop independence and responsibility, both of which are incredibly important to future success.

Another study that especially resonates with Camp EDMO® is from Challenge Success, a research organization affiliated with the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Their 2015 research-practice partnership with three Northern California camps investigated camp as a unique learning environment, in order to better understand its value. They found that benefits to campers were directly aligned with current research on Social and Emotional Learning.

These are just a few examples of on-going research that show the value of high quality, engaging summer programs for kids. It’s true, camp really does make a difference long term!