We all know that kids need to feel good about themselves, to be proud of their abilities and accomplishments, to be accepted socially.
And they need the right opportunities for that to happen.
Parents often strive to provide experiences to boost their children’s self- esteem.
Organized team sports, music or voice lessons, even the right clothes and shoes are attempts at helping kids grow in self-confidence.
Self-esteem can be a catalyst to living a full life and achieving more than we ever believed possible for ourselves.
And it isn’t just about standing out as an individual or rising to the position as “the best.”
A sense of self-worth and pride can emerge from being a part of a group accomplishment.
That’s why summer camp is beneficial in building self-esteem.
For one thing, summer camp gives children a shot at trying new things.
Children get to take risks that make them courageous and confident that they can make good choices.
Camp also can provide an atmosphere where perseverance, work ethic and positive attitudes can grow.
Campers also work together to solve problems and collaborate on projects.
Regardless of ability, experience or talent, children are reminded that they are capable and that they can believe in themselves.
As campers work in community, they realize they matter to others.
Brittany Kaiser, the marketing coordinator at Legacy All Sports in Lexington, explains how kids often enter camp feeling like they don’t know much.
“In a fun and encouraging environment they learn new things quickly and come away feeling like they have accomplished something,” she said.
Kids at camp are also free from their parents’ assessments of how well they have performed.
“It’s amazing to see kids who’ve been labeled shy by their parents or grandparents come into our Performance Workshops,” says Adam Montague, Education Associate at Lexington Children’s Theatre.
“After a week of exploring, learning and becoming their character, the ‘shy’ kids become confident and even loud, traits we want in our actors.”
Between 2001 and 2004, the American Camp Association conducted national research with more than 5,000 families from 80 ACA-accredited camps to see if they could prove that camp is beneficial to children.
Parents responded that their children grew significantly in the following areas: independence, leadership, friendship skills, social comfort, peer relationships, adventure and exploration, values, decision making… and self-esteem.
As you think about sending your children off to camp this summer, you may want to consider what camps will do the best job of promoting their self-esteem.
And your children just might come home being more confident than when the summer started.