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We recently came across an article from the Washington Post that says so much about why a good camp gives a great advantage to a child.
Please copy it to your list of parents and add it to your social media with the Camp Kahdalea and Camp Chosatonga names attached.
This was recently sent to us. Please enjoy.
Insights to Shelter Building (Important for camping out.):
Nice standard lean-to with a tarp.
Hammock Shelter: Simple a-frame for a hammock with a tarp.
About kids in general.
I send my kids to sleep-away camp to give them a competitive advantage in life
The inside track on Washington politics.
By Laura Clydesdale
May 9 2016
“Do you even like your children?” the woman I had just met asked me.
The audacity of the question took my breath away. I had been chatting with her, explaining that my kids go to sleep-away camp for two months every year.
I quickly realized two things at once: She was obnoxious, and she actually didn’t care if I missed my kids during the summer. She was talking about something else.
I didn’t have to tell her the reason I “send them away” for most of the summer is because I like them. They adore camp, and it’s actually harder on me than it is on them. I often tell people that the first year they were both gone, it felt like I had lost an arm. I wandered around the house from room to room experiencing phantom limb pain.
Now, instead of being offended, I got excited.
I was going to be able to tell her something that my husband and I rarely get to explain: We do it because we truly think it will help our kids be successful in life. With under-employment and a stagnating labor market looming in their future, an all-around, sleep-away summer camp is one of the best competitive advantages we can give our children.
Surely, college admissions officers aren’t going to be impressed with killer friendship bracelets or knowing all the words to the never-ending camp song “Charlie on the M.T.A.” Who cares if they can pitch a tent or build a fire?
Indeed, every summer my kids “miss out” on the specialized, résumé-building summers that their peers have. Their friends go to one-sport summer camps and take summer school to skip ahead in math. Older peers go to SAT/ACT prep classes. One kid worked in his dad’s business as an intern, while another enrolled in a summer program that helped him write all his college essays.
Many (this woman included) would say that I’m doing my children a serious disservice by choosing a quaint and out-of-date ideal instead. There are online “Ivy League Coaches” that might say we are making a terrible mistake.
We don’t think this is a mistake at all. It might not be something to put on the college application (unless my child eventually becomes a counselor), but that isn’t the goal for us.
Our goal is bigger.
We are consciously opting out of the things-to-put-on-the-college-application arms race, and instead betting on three huge benefits of summer camp, which we believe will give them a true competitive advantage — in life:
1. Building creativity.
2. Developing broadly as a human being.
3. Not-living-in-my-basement-as-an-adult independence.
MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson says, in his book “The Second Machine Age,” that we have reached a pivotal moment where technology is replacing skills and people at an accelerated pace. He argues that creativity and innovation are becoming competitive advantages in the race against artificial intelligence, because creativity is something a machine has a hard time replicating.
The problem is that creativity seems so intangible.
Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” He believed that people invent when they connect the dots between the experiences they’ve had. To do this, he argued that we need to have more experiences and spend more time thinking about those experiences.
Indeed. According to Adam Grant’s book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,” researchers at Michigan State University found that to receive the Nobel Prize, you need deep study in your field and those broad experiences Jobs was talking about. They studied the winning scientists from 1901 through 2005 and compared them with typical scientists living at the same time. Grant writes that the Nobel Prize winners were:
* Two times more likely to play an instrument, compose or conduct.
* Seven times more likely to draw, paint or sculpt.
* Seven-and-a-half times more likely to do woodwork or be a mechanic, electrician or glassblower.
* Twelve times more likely to write poetry, plays, novels or short stories.
* And 22 times more likely to be an amateur actor, dancer or magician.
You read that right. Magician.
It’s not just that this kind of original thinker actively seeks out creative pursuits. These original experiences provide a new way of looking at the world, which helped the prize-winners think differently in their day jobs.
The beauty of summer camp is that not only do kids get to do all sorts of crazy new things, they also get to do it in nature, which lends its own creative boost.
Most importantly, my kids have such intensely packed schedules full of sports, music, art classes, community service and technological stimulation throughout the school year that it makes finding these all-important quiet mental spaces more difficult.
Summers provide a much-needed opportunity for my children to unplug, achieve focus and develop those creative thought processes and connections.
Okay, okay. Creativity might be a compelling tool to beat out that neighbor girl applying to the same college, but what about this “developing broadly as a human being” stuff?
I didn’t come up with that phrase. Harvard did.
William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions at Harvard, has penned a compelling letter to parents. It practically begs and pleads with them to reevaluate the summer extracurriculars race and to “bring summer back,” with an “old-fashioned summer job” perhaps, or simply time to “gather strength for the school year ahead.”
Fitzsimmons writes, “What can be negative is when people lose sight of the fact that it’s important to develop broadly as a human being, as opposed to being an achievement machine. In the end, people will do much better reflecting, perhaps through some down time, in the summer.”
In terms of “developing broadly as a human being,” summer camp can provide an impressive list of life skills.
Studies over the past decade have shown outdoor programs stimulate the development of interpersonal competencies, enhance leadership skills and have positive effects on adolescents’ sense of empowerment, self-control, independence, self-understanding, assertiveness, decision-making skills, self-esteem, leadership, academics, personality and interpersonal relations.
Now for the cherry on top: Independence.
Michael Thompson, the author of “Homesick and Happy,” has written, “… there are things that, as a parent, you cannot do for your children, as much as you might wish to. You cannot make them happy (if you try too hard they become whiners); you cannot give them self-esteem and confidence (those come from their own accomplishments); you cannot pick friends for them and micro-manage their social lives, and finally you cannot give them independence. The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.”
So, yes, Ms. Tiger Mom, I am letting my children walk out the door and make useless lanyards for two months.
They might not have anything “constructive” to place on their college application, but they will reflect, unwind, think and laugh. They will explore, perform skits they wrote themselves and make those endless friendship bracelets to tie onto the wrists of lifelong friends.
The result will be that when they come back through our door, we’re pretty sure that, in addition to having gobs of creativity and independence, they’ll be more comfortable with who they are as people.
And just maybe they’ll even bring back a fttew magic tricks.
Laura Clydesdale lives in Berkeley, Calif., with her husband and children. She blogs at lauraclydesdale.com. Follow her on Twitter @l_clydesdale.
(Message from David. I disagree on a one of points in the article. I have heard from campers and counselors alike that camp on their resumes has been important in setting them apart as an independent and good choices for jobs and college.)
The Surprising Value In Sending Your Kids To Sleepaway Camp
Club Mid / Surviving Summer
Lisa Sadikman Jun 11, 2016
Beshots / iStock
Lisa Sadikman Jun 11, 2016
I took the escalator stairs two-by-two, impatient to get to the gate where my daughter’s plane would be landing any minute. This was her first summer at sleepaway camp, and for the last two weeks I’d eagerly checked the mailbox for news about her bunkmates, camp food, and all the cool stuff she was doing. Most days all I got was the same old furniture catalogs, bills, and an occasional flyer from a local real estate agent. The few letters she did send were super short: “I like my counselors. We went swimming. I have hot chocolate for breakfast every day.”
Maybe the lack of quantity and detail meant she was too busy having a good time to sit down and write about it. Or…maybe she wasn’t having a good time at all and just didn’t want to tell me.
As soon as I saw her, I waved madly and ran to scoop her up in a mama bear hug. “I missed you!” I said. “How was camp?”
“I want to go for the whole month next year,” she said, her hug for me a bit less enthusiastic than mine for her. No “I missed you too.” No tears of homecoming joy.
Hmm. We pulled apart, and that’s when I took a good, long look at my daughter. Highlights streaked her chestnut hair, her cheeks glowed, and I swear she was half an inch taller. The 9 ½-year-old in front of me was cool, collected, and wholly content—sort of like the Zen version of the slightly loud, sometimes clingy, teary-eyed kid I’d put on the plane two weeks ago. Who was this girl, and what had she done with my daughter? Then it dawned on me: My daughter had just had a weeks-long experience without me, an experience that was hers and hers alone. As I learned more about camp and witnessed the changes in my daughter over the rest of the summer, I learned that this was a good thing.
Sending kids to sleepaway camp is a big deal. First of all, it’s emotional for both parents and kids. Being away from home and family for more than a day or two can be scary. Then there’s figuring out which camp is the right fit your child, and finally, the cost, which can rival that of a swank family vacation, depending on how many weeks you sign up for. So, yes, the question of sleepaway camp can be challenging, but there’s also great value in giving your child an experience that’s all her own.
My daughter is one of three girls. Camp is the only place where she can exist entirely as herself and not as someone’s younger or older sister. This gives her the chance to make choices about interests, opinions, and people without sibling—or parental—influence. Being thrown into a cabin with 11 other girls she didn’t know meant my daughter had to quickly learn how to get along with girls she might not have a lot in common with and make an effort to connect and make friends with those she did. While the counselors are ready to help if things get sticky, campers are usually encouraged to negotiate disagreements on their own. This is a big change from the adult refereeing that often goes on in my house. My daughters have come back from camp with increased confidence, the ability to handle challenging social situations, and the desire to try new activities, even though that might mean screwing up at first. These are crucial life skills that are put to the test in the Petri dish of camp.
Sleepaway camp isn’t only good for the kids. It’s also a welcome break for me, and the perfect antidote to the end-of-the-school-year chaos. Once my older girls leave for camp, the house is quieter, the daily schedule is more laid back, and I get to spend quality one-on-one time with my youngest daughter. In between working from home, I read, write, and take walks. I do a lot more relaxing and wondering and a lot less stressing and scurrying. This time apart from my kids is rejuvenating. It helps me appreciate them and motherhood more than I do when we’re pressed up together in the day to day.
The slower pace also does wonders for my marriage. My husband and I have more breathing room with fewer children between us. We reacquaint ourselves with the ancient art of uninterrupted conversation or simply bask in the relative peace and quiet of an emptier house. We put the little one to bed early and settle in to each other for the night instead of groping in the dark for a quick goodnight kiss.
As my girls and I consult the camp packing lists for this year, the excitement builds for us all. They can’t wait to roam the grounds with their friends, raid the kitchen at midnight, spend lots of time outside, and melt into their carefree selves. As for me, I get to appreciate the time apart from my kids, hang out more with my husband, and take the days a little more slowly. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
About the Writer
Lisa Sadikman is a writer living in Northern California with her husband and three daughters, the third one arriving somewhat late in the game, just as she began dreaming of a life beyond motherhood. You can read about her adventures parenting a teen, a tween and a preschooler, managing marriage and living a grown up life on her blog, Flingo and by following her on Twitter @LisaSadikman.
Raising Children Unplugged
Raising children... Wouldn’t it be nice if it was easy. There are so many choices and so many opportunities to do the right things, and also to make mistakes. There is a study called the Marshmallow Test that I find fascinating. It presents a philosophy that fits well with ours.
We love hard things and challenge. We love goodness, discipline and fun. We love God’s natural beauty, majestic mountains. We love strength, kindness and humility. These are just a few of the things we work to live out and to pass on here at camp. Oh yes, did I leave out patience? That is so important with people, the ones we love and with life. That is a key ingredient in the Marshmallow Test.
This test, by Walter Mischel, began in the late 60s. He would offer a child a treat, but told him that if he waited a short while, he would get a bigger treat... delayed gratification. Some camps are high entertainment in style. We, on the other hand, embrace a philosophy of challenge leading to earning reward. We don’t clip a child in to play on the climbing walls. We teach climbing. They learn the commands, the knots and the safety rules and then they begin to climb. It might take a period or two just to get on the wall, but the experience is so much more. Rather than climbing once or twice, many campers continue to grow in strength and skill and to really learn climbing.
In backpacking, children carry their gear and may perhaps struggle to reach a summit, but the reward on top is more than beauty and majesty but also satisfaction sweeter than cool spring water. And so it is with so many of our camp adventures.
In the Marshmallow Test, the treat was left on the table for about 15 minutes and the tester left the room. Less than a third of the children managed to wait. Following up, researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, c as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index and other life measures. What a fascinating lesson.
There are some institutions that adopt this same goal, but many offer fun and entertainment while overlooking the real treasure. Missing this treasure is a tragedy for our children.
We hear many good stories about the fruitful lives of so many past campers. We are very happy to be a positive part of their experience. Just in the last week I received multiple correspondences and two actually said “camp was the most formative thing in my life.” What a blessing. There is something different about camp people.
Book Review from the NYTIMES:
Homesick and Happy – How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
by Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
An insightful and powerful look at the magic of summer camp—and why it is so important for children to be away from home . . . if only for a little while.
In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your "little ones" off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming—for you and for them. But a parent’s first instinct—to shelter their offspring above all else—actually deprives children of the major developmental milestones that occur through letting them go—and watching them come back transformed.
In Homesick and Happy, Dr. Thompson shares a strong argument for, and a vital guide to, this brief loosening of ties. A great champion of summer camp, he explains how camp ushers your children into a thrilling environment—an electronics-free zone, a multigenerational community, meaningful daily rituals like group meals and cabin clean-up, and a place where time simply slows down. In the buggy woods, icy swims, campfire sing-alongs, and daring adventures, children have emotionally significant and character-building experiences. They often grow in ways that surprise even themselves.
They make lifelong memories and cherished friends. Dr. Thompson shows how children who are away from their parents can be both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant. When children go to camp—for a week, a month, or the whole summer—they can experience some of the greatest maturation of their lives, and return more independent, strong, and healthy.
Camps Kahdalea & Chosatonga
2500 Morgan Mill Road
Brevard, North Carolina 28712
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