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Summer camp helps kids learn about social skills and self

By Bette Bussel, American Camp Association, New England One of the common mis-conceptions about summer camp is that it's a place you send your child to be away for the season. Summer camp is a community, built by professional educators together with the children they supervise. Within that c-mmunity, children learn to make decisions and take healthy risks in a safe environment. Summer camp is not about where a child is; it's about what happens when they're there. Kids learn best through experience, and summer camp is one of the best (and only) remaining hands-on learning opportunities available to them: developing social skills, playing both formal and informal games, living in a natural setting, and learning more about themselves physically and emotionally. At camp, there's no teaching to a test. Every minute doesn't have to be scheduled. There's time for teachable moments and exploration. That time, however fleeting, has a lasting impact on campers. Many people find that the most critical people in their lives were those they befriended at summer camp. Summer camp has never been more necessary. Academic and after-school commitments add so much pressure to a child's life, and often take choices out of their hands. Time spent at summer camp allows kids to decompress and be themselves. There's a common mis-conception that children are sent away by their rejoicing parents to summer camp, where someone else will do the work of super-vising them. That's simply not the case. Many parents choose to let their children experience summer camp because they know of the value it gives and the genuine joy it can inspire. Camp contributes mightily to the development of a child's independence, responsibility, and skills. It supplements a child's education — and, for many kids who find school difficult, it can offer them a new venue where they might thrive and embrace learning. It allows them to try new things and enjoy favorite activities, all while creating lasting memories and life-long friendships. What better gift could you give your children than an experience that offers all that? Provided by the American Camp Association, New England, the region's leading source for "all things summer camp." For more information, visit www.ACANewEngland.org or call (781) 541-6080. Find us also on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ACANew-England. Bookmark and Share

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