If you ask a child to describe camp, the response would probably include fun, friends, swimming, Color War and of course the quintessential “bug juice.” We would all agree that this is an accurate picture. Yet, to truly appreciate the amazing and awesome value of camp and its enduring impact on a child’s life, one needs to look below the idyllic highlights.
The extraordinary process of a child’s personal growth and development during the summer seems meteoric. No sooner have the campers stepped off the bus for the first day of camp, they become fully immersed in activities and cabin life, arriving home looking older, standing taller and exuding a new found confidence. For some, the biggest hurdle will be boarding the bus in the morning, for others it will be putting their face in the water or learning to dive, or even hitting a pitched ball. There is no “one size fits all,” in terms of each child’s progress and expectations. The process itself is significant, not just the end result.
We applaud their perseverance, as they navigate challenges, embrace their developing strengths and expand their repertoire of skills, both personal and physical. Right before our eyes we view the transition of reluctance to confidence, reserve to animation, and dependency to autonomy. The global camp experience provides transferable skills and promotes greater self-awareness that is meaningful well beyond the summer. Its positive benefits continue to pay dividends and are applicable to all of life’s relationships, academic studies and careers.
It is a privilege to be part of this endeavor and to watch our campers blossom as they are steeped in the camp experience. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and your children as we embark on the 2016 summer at Pierce.