Hiking, outdoor games, swimming, making s’mores while singing songs by the bonfire—these are some of our fondest memories of camp. For most people, summer camp may just all be about fun and adventure, but more than that, we also know that our kids will bring home with them invaluable benefits that transform them for the better. What we all need to realize is that camps, just like ours at The Vineyard, provide a venue for opportunities in developing life skills you cannot find in schools alone.
Time flies by so fast--we see our children up grow up so quickly right before our very eyes. Pretty soon, they will be the next decision-makers, influencers, and leaders of their generation. We need to equip them with essential life skills knowing that there is a bigger world out there for them when they all grow up to become adults.
At The Vineyard, it was our fervent prayer from the very start to be instrumental in raising individuals who are responsible, loving, and faithful to God. In essence, we have become part of raising loving children with incredible Christian role models since 1983. Apart from that, we are proud to have equipped them with the necessary life skills they needed to become successful in their chosen fields in life.
What are some of the life skills our kids develop from summer camp?
Let’s face it—the thought of sending our children away to attend camp may be a bit of a scary thing because we are so used to seeing them every day. On the other hand, when we allow our kids to face their challenges away from us, they develop a sense of independence. They start to make their own sound decisions. The numerous individual and collaborative endeavors in the camp build their self-esteem, and that in turn makes them trust their capabilities. In a supervised and supportive camp environment like The Vineyard, it is our goal to help kids think for themselves and trust their uniqueness. Above all, we are more than just a sports camp—we are a ministry dedicated to relationships and discipleship.
How many of you here remember the fun survival skills we learned from camp? Anything from cooking, gardening, first-aid, wilderness survival, swimming, and the like make up some of our best memories from camp. Survival skills are necessary because whether we like it or not, our children will have to face uncertainties, hardships, and even emergencies—and we need to teach them how to endure and survive those things.
Networking and Social Skills
One of the ultimate benefits kids get from camp is socialization. They not only learn to interact positively; they also develop ways in how to best present and conduct themselves with other people. They get to broaden their networks—they make connections. In a fun, supervised environment, kids develop social skills, but most importantly, meaningful friendships.
When our kids go to camp, it is very unlikely for any one of them to say they go there wanting to be a leader of anything. It’s the camp’s approach of converging individuals with activities that are both self-awakening or collaborative that develops their emotional intelligence and self-confidence. You see, these two values make up a great leader. Simple camp experiences such as group games, collaborative sports activities allow our kids to take the lead at times, and also to be a good follower.
Love of Nature
At a time of global climate changes and environmental degradation, we must raise environmental awareness to our children. Camp activities allow our kids to be in touch with nature, but more than that, it develops within them the love and respect to the bounties of the earth. In essence, it helps them become environmentally-conscious, responsible individuals.
Being part of a Bigger Whole
In more ways than one, camps offer countless opportunities for our kids to communicate with one another. Communication, collaboration, and trust are essential values our children need to understand by heart. They have to appreciate that more than being self-sufficient, it is vital to learn how to trust other people because no one can excel in life alone: In this world, we are all part of an integral whole. At camp, our kids are subjected to numerous activities that encourage them to work together for a common goal. It teaches them to be loving and compromising-- understanding, and kind.
Home-sickness is one of the most common challenges we face in camps. It is usual for children to miss their respective comfort zones at home, to miss their families and their loved ones. Camp teaches emotional management; it transforms them into individuals who are conscious of their emotional being while being around other kids. Patience and restraint are emotional building blocks that make a strong person, and kids develop that from camp.