In the last twenty years, social media usage has exploded and has filled every corner of our lives. Research indicates that, of those social media platforms, three out of four users frequent those sites daily. This data collaborates with the fact that humans are naturally social creatures, and as we grow up, developing friendships is a crucial part of social and emotional development. As the landscape for socialization shifts to digital connections, our children struggle to navigate the new social climate to develop and nurture friendships with the decline of face to face communication and play dates. However, camp can greatly assist in this area, as developing lasting peer relationships is essential for helping kids develop social competence, altruism, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In previously published work, we’ve discussed the importance of meaningful in-person social connections.
Allows Campers to Socialize with Others Outside of Their Existing Network
The age-old adage “birds of a feather flock together” is a fitting description of natural interpersonal interaction. Children naturally befriend those who come from similar backgrounds, and this is encouraged through proximity. A study of friendships showed that 65% of friendships develop within a block of home, and this is encouraged through school district lines that group kids based on where they live. However, camp is a unique opportunity for children to get an opportunity to meet and befriend peers that come from numerous walks of life. In a study done by the American Camp Association, 93% of campers stated that camp helped them befriend other kids who had different backgrounds from their own.
Camp Provides the Perfect Environment for Learning How to Form Peer Bonds
While general education settings group students with their peers, camp takes it one step further into an authentic life setting. Selecting activities based on interest is an excellent formula for being in an environment that encourages meaningful social-emotional growth. Our majors and minors offer a place where campers with similar interests can regularly interact while participating in activities they love. As we discuss in our blog, “The Lessons We Teach to Improve Our Campers’ Social Skills,” there is an organic opportunity for meaningful social connections when our young men are given an opportunity to be in their element. Coupled with immersive surroundings, rich with daily opportunities to connect with others without the distractions of technology, camp offers a community to help friendships survive and thrive with positive social-emotional reinforcement.
Summer Camp Helps Kids Develop Important Teamwork Skills
Teamwork is an essential skill every child needs for future employment and relationship success, among other areas. Through fostering inclusivity and creating an intentional community, Camp Sequoia encourages teamwork and collaboration so that everyone can meet their social goals– together. Whether this is one of many Foxfire or low-ropes team building challenges in Guy’s group, or perhaps a team-based Minute-to-win it challenge special event day, having a mix of opportunities that require diverse and overlapping skill sets for group success, the stage is set for important teamwork skill development. Older campers take this on the road with self-designed interest-based day, weekend and longer-term excursions.
Positive Peer Relationships Translates into Better Self Esteem
Some campers can come to camp with low social self-esteem due to poor past experiences with their peers. Campers sometimes tend to dwell on the negative interactions rather than to celebrate their successes. However, scientific studies show that positive self-esteem leads to stronger relationships, and vice versa. Camp Sequoia provides a safe space to develop positive social experiences in a structured environment, scaffolded by our trained staff members. With staff present to support our young men as they develop social resilience and confidence, our campers are able to bolster their self-esteem through encouraging peer friendships.
Let us Help Your Son Develop Quality Peer Relationships at Camp Sequoia
Camp Sequoia is built to help our campers thrive socially and become the best versions of themselves. Our rigorous staffing policies–like our 2:5 staffing ratio, intensive staff training, and meticulous hiring practices all revolve around our commitment to supporting our exceptional camper’s peer interactions. Our unique program encourages active listening, perspective taking, conversational reciprocity, and social awareness built on a foundation of research-based approaches for social-emotional growth.
With our support, we aim to help every camper take the friendships they develop at camp and translate those skills to their peer interactions year-round. Our goal is to provide an authentic community that allows each young man to develop a meaningful set of tools and confidence that will serve them well socially and emotionally not just during the summer, but in their home and school life as well. Every fall, we get calls and letters from families, children, teachers and others in our campers’ lives who can see the positive changes that a Sequoia summer can have far beyond the weeks spent at camp.