Why Not Go To Summer Camp?

Elizabeth Galbreath, Opinion Editor

Is it for a few days or for a couple of weeks? It is overnight or just during the day? Does it have a theme or is it just general? These are some questions parents and children consider when deciding to go to summer camp or not. But do these questions really matter? In my opinion, no, because all summer camps are the best experiences a child can have.

Speaking from personal experience, camp wasn’t my “thing” at first. My first time going to a day camp, I was so upset about leaving home and my parents that I cried and got picked up a few hours into the first day. Getting ready for my first overnight camp, I was extremely nervous. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to actually go through with this five-day camp. I wondered if it would end up being like my day camp experience, and I would go home on the first day.

I could have never imagined how much that week at Harford County 4-H Camp would change me. I grew as a person at camp more than anyone could have ever expected. I made more friends than I had at school, and I tried things I never had before. Summer camps change people, me being a great example. At camp, I learned to go out of my comfort zone and to be responsible for myself. During chores, I learned to work with my peers to reach a common goal. To get the coveted “Spirit Feather,” I came to realize it’s not the points that matter, it’s how you look at everything, especially with enthusiasm and optimism. I learned that judging people based on what they appear to be is not the way to go. Some of my closest friends seemed extremely odd and weird at first, but we’ve been excellent friends for about seven years now. Campers and counselors come from all over Harford County, so people’s different personalities and backgrounds help us learn a lot. I have met some of the most interesting and amazing people through my summer camp experiences. Independence and teamwork come hand-in-hand at camp. Personally, I learned from being both a camper and counselor that being an active part of your team makes you better and helps your team succeed. Honestly, I would have never learned these lessons and skills in a different environment. Sure, one could argue that a child may acquire these skills and lessons in school, but the natural, relaxed and outdoor setting at camp makes it a memorable and unique experience. The atmosphere at camp is fun and free unlike a student would most likely say about his or her school. Camp makes learning fun; it’s as simple as that.

Making it even more special, every summer camp has its own activities or parts of camp to make it one-of-a-kind. No two camps are identical, and every camper gets a different experience, although the instilled values in camps remain the same. As a counselor at multiple summer camps, it is my job to be the role model of my campers. I absolutely love knowing that I can help my campers have the time of their lives while at camp. However, knowing I have that much responsibility can be scary and intimidating. I take that power and use it to my advantage so that the kids and I both learn while being fun and safe. I try as hard as I can to demonstrate values of teamwork, sharing, generosity, hard work and trust into my campers, so they can get as much out of camp as possible. Going to a summer camp and not learning is basically pointless. Why would you go to summer school to not learn? You wouldn’t.