The Case For Sleepaway Camp
By KATIE MARGOLIS
Sleepaway camp provides kids a fun and safe place during the summer to make friends and experience nature. I believe sleepaway camp is greatly beneficial for kids and that it can give them the opportunity to become independent and more mature.
During a summer away from home, kids can become exposed to different types of people and make long-lasting friendships. Many people believe that relationships with friends made at sleepaway camp are different than those made at home. Freshman Ryan S. said that he is much closer with his camp friends and that they share a special bond because of the years at camp they’ve spent together. Additionally, freshman Drew N. shares a similar opinion, as she says that she and her camp friends love spending time together, and she always can look forward to the special occasions when she’s able to see them. After spending every minute for multiple weeks with your bunkmates, you become a very close knit group. Owner of Camp Starlight David M. said, “When you live with your bunkmates 24/7 for a summer, the bonds and friendships can oftentimes be much deeper than friends you make from home.”
Another beneficial aspect of sleepaway camp is that you’re away from your cell phone. Freshman Jamie S. said, “It gives you more of a chance to actually communicate with people face-to-face.” These days, kids are so attached to their phones, but camp forces them to separate from them and see what they are missing out on when they are glued to these devices. “You have an experience away from your phone and actually can enjoy nature and the people around you and not just social media,” said freshman Tatum W.
Sleepaway camp is meant to be a safe place, and social media could be an example of an outlet for cyber bullying. “Children growing up with technology and social media are losing the skills to have face-to-face conversations,” said Starlight camp director David M. He added, “At camp, these are unavailable and that’s what makes for a safe and healthy camp environment.”
Learning to become independent by stepping out of your comfort zone is another great lesson to be learned at camp. At sleepaway camp, you can escape from the harsh judgments of students in school and be who you really are. You can try new activities like sports, acting, and art. Additionally, you don’t always have to follow the crowd. Sleepaway camp gives you the option to do activities you love without having to worry that all your friends are doing something different.
Many parents make the decision to send their kids to camp for the care and experiences their children receive. Parent Jennifer M. said, “ I love how they take care of my child throughout the summer and make sure she is safe and well.” Additionally, parent Alex L. said, “It is a great experience to have independence and make new friends and my daughter can do activities she doesn’t do at home.”
Although I believe sleepaway camp is great, not everyone wants, nor has the ability, to attend. Sleepaway camp costs thousands of dollars and for many families this is a substantial expense. Also, sleepaway camps can range in length from three to eight weeks. For some kids, this extensive duration of time away from their homes and families might cause homesickness. When asked why he doesn’t go to camp, freshman Anthony C. said, “I don’t like being away for so long, and it’s too expensive.”
Overall, sleepaway camp allows kids to be a part of something unforgettable. From making friends, learning how to be independent and even exploring nature, sleepaway camp provides kids with everlasting memories.
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