Friday, June 27, 2014

Camp: A Proven Source of Fun and Resilience

The first session of camp is already halfway over! We hope everyone is out there having a great time. 

As if we really needed to boast about MHKC any more (because you know it's awesome, we know it's awesome), buuuuuut just in case there are any doubts about how rad it is, how about some benefits of going to summer camp?

According to researcher and family therapist, Michael Ungar, Ph.D., summer camp is the perfect place for psychosocial development--if the camp is done right. I'm happy to say that Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp provides all seven things Ungar says all children need to develop strong comping strategies and resilience. But what makes MHKC super awesome is that all of the following benefits apply not only to campers, but to counselors as well.

1. New relationships.  Not only is it important to develop relationships with peers, but also with adults outside the family unit. Campers, counselors, and staff create bonds on an indescribable level. Genuine and lasting.

2. Comfort in identity and confidence in front of others.  Everyone finds a place to shine at MHKC, whether it's on the rock wall, fishing, crafts, or skit night. Counselors support their campers, but campers also provide counselors with a self assurance and sense of identity that they may not have had prior to their camp experience.

3. Sense of control.  Camp provides many of our campers an opportunity for independence in a safe environment. Even with no parents around, they accomplish amazing things, which gives a feeling of self-agency in their lives. 

4. Fair treatment.  Duh! Do we really have to go into this one? Camp is about fun and encouragement, and you can't have that without fairness. We believe in and promote the idea that variation is the norm.

5. Physical activity.  This is one of the aspects of camp that tends to take camper parents by surprise. How often does an individual with a physical disability, for instance, get to go ziplining or canoeing or rock climbing? Kiwanis Camp gives campers (and counselors!) the opportunity to engage with nature in fun and unconventional ways.

6. Sense of belonging.  Again, this is one of those "of course!" things about camp. Community, team building, encouragement, fostering relationships, singing, dancing, high-fiving, hugging... It goes on! Campers, counselors, and staff are caring individuals having the best two weeks of summer (or of he entire year!); nobody is left out or ignored. 

7. Sense of culture.  MHKC always provides campers and counselors with an enriched sense of self within a community. Learning about others and the self is a constant at camp, but what we love is that this learning is not in a classroom. It's not a seminar or a lecture. It's learning through fun and interaction. What could be better?

If you need further proof, check out this video and have a great time at camp!

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