The Impact of Camp
Camp, at its core, is transformational. When the impact can’t be ordered from Amazon or booked online or saved in a que (because you can’t put confidence or independence in a nice little package with gift wrap and a bow), the true benefits of camp shine.
In an interview between the American Camp Association (ACA) and Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO, Michael talks about the power of the camp life on building these attributes;
“Planned freedom is one of the great things about Keewaydin and all camps. There are those times at camp without structure, between activities, when kids just have to invent what they will do. Coming from urban environments in particular with everything so highly organized, where kids are so thoroughly programmed, it’s great to be able to allow kids the freedom to make decisions about what they will do. The key is to get kids into the natural world, to give them some understanding of what this is like.”
If you think of just one program like, let’s say, archery – yes, we are building the ability to shoot an arrow at a target. But when you look at the progression in teaching a child to actually hit the target, after learning the different parts of the bow, how to aim, safety, how to pull the string back and the final rewarding feeling of letting it go, all these different parts add up to confidence building in our campers.
When you are confident in yourself, independence is the next thing that builds. You don’t need your friend to help you choose the next activity; you know what you want to do. We also coach the campers in how to choose the activity that is best for them, not the one their friend is doing. By the end of the week, when we offer campers choice activities, we typically see friends split up to do different activities and meet new people.
Camp Chief Ouray has been working with children since 1908. When I meet past campers, I can still see that part of their experience showing in how they carry themselves and interact with the next generation of counselors. It shows the power of camp.
We’d love to know more about how Camp Chief Ouray, or any camp experience, has transformed your child. Please comment below and share your story!
– Michael Ohl Executive of Camp Chief Ouray