One of the best experiences of my life has been sleepaway camp. From meeting new people to learning new skills and independence, camp offers so many benefits. 

One of the most memorable parts of sleepaway camp is meeting new people and making new friendships. Every year, I’m anxious to meet new people, and shy going into the week because I have never met a lot of people at camp. After just a couple hours, I feel like I have known these people for years. At camp, anyone can make friends and connections that will last a lifetime. Often, campers are put into cabins with people they have never met, and maybe a few you have. It might seem awkward at first, but eventually everyone adjusts and it is one of the best weeks of the year. According to Today’s Parent, since kids come from all kinds of different locations, campers get to learn about other kid’s backgrounds and bond over things that make them unique. They learn social skills when meeting new people, especially since they will be with them for a week, and learn to step out of their comfort zone to talk to people. Sleepaway camp provides kids with opportunities to meet people they will most likely keep in contact with for the rest of their life. 

Another benefit of attending sleepaway camp is the numerous opportunities to learn new skills. At my first week-long camp that I went to, there were endless activities including horseback riding, archery, sports and more. I had gone horseback riding once or twice, but after spending a week everyday participating in this during free time, it became one of the best parts of camp and some of the most fun I had ever had. No matter what type of camp a kid attends, there will always be an activity to have fun learning. When I got older, some of the most exciting activities were ones that involved group bonding which teaches kids to work well in groups. 

Another asset learned at sleepaway camp, and summer camp in general, is learning to be independent. When kids go to camp alone they must learn to take care of themselves and be responsible. This is learned in many different ways including navigating by oneself, taking care of oneself and making friends all during the week. When campers are forced to do things like this by themselves, it establishes a sense of independence that they will carry with them throughout their lives. One of the best parts of camp is having the feeling of responsibility and independence throughout the week, and all of the things you accomplish doing this. 

A common belief about overnight camps is that they are stressful for kids who are shy and nervous around people they do not know. While this is a valid concern for parents and children, once you get to camp and become familiar with the people and environment its difficult to not have a great time and meet amazing people. It is important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to properly function in the real world in situations like school, jobs and social interactions. Sleepaway camp and summer camp best prepare children for these types of things. 

Although sleepaway camp can be intimidating at first, when you finally adjust to it, it is one of the best experiences. Camp has many benefits including meeting new people, learning new skills and gaining independence. Going to camp should be something every kid experiences at some point in their life for all the positive benefits it introduces kids to.