We are counting down the days till our 2020 Camp sessions, and for most of us, it’s the time of the year we all look forward. For parents like us who are planning to send their kids to camp, it’s reasonable to ask the essential questions on whether or not it’s the perfect way to give our kids and teens’ school break more depth and meaning.
Is my child ready to join a camp?... Am I prepared to send my child to camp?
What are the benefits my child will achieve from his or her exposures in the camp?
What will it be like to send my kids to a camp adventure?
If as a kid, you had an experience joining summer camps, we would guess the very highlight of your memories are the fun moments you had when you entered, the new skills you learned from mentors and the other kids, and the friends you made (some of them even ended up your friends for life, right?). Does this sound like something your child rightfully deserves? Yes, indeed. But as a parent, what’s important for us are the wonderful takeaways our kids will get from camp. More than just a cute summer camp t-shirt and some fun memories, we want our kids to experience TRANSFORMATION.
There are many types of camps you can explore. As parents, we must look into our children’s interests, the areas they are great at, and the things that could potentially make them the best person that they can be. There are sports camps, special interest camps (like those in science, technology, music, etc.) -- and in our case at The Vineyard, we are a God-centered camp geared to instill the love and appreciation to Him.
The Vineyard Camp is more than just a sports camp; it is a ministry dedicated to relationships and discipleship. From the beginning, it has been our threefold goal to share God’s love, demonstrate (through the lives of our staff) holy living, and explain the challenge of discipleship.
We’ve identified some great benefits our kids and the youth can gain from joining summer camps.:
A Chance to Disconnect and Unplug
Our children nowadays are bombarded with so many overwhelming changes, primarily coming from advances in technology. What’s troublesome to note is that our children are challenged every day to “keep up with the trends” they see from mobile phones, television, social media, electronics, and whatnot. As parents, we can only control a portion of it, especially that our kids have their judgments and their own circles outside of our homes. If there is a chance to disconnect them from all that and place them in a world of the fundamentals—appreciating God, being one with nature, friendships, collaborative adventures with like-minded children—we grab that chance. A camp allows our children to go back to basics minus all the noise and pressures of the modern world.
A Chance to Instill the Importance of Physical Activity
Children today spend eight or more hours a day on electronics, that covers anything from school work to just existing at home. America’s obesity rate is increasing on an exponential level, and more than of bad dietary choices, it is also primarily because our children are not getting their recommended daily amount of exercise. With electronic media to their disposal, the picture of a kid quietly playing video games or checking on social media in one corner is slowly becoming a norm. Summer camps, however, are a complete polar opposite. It brings kids and teens to appreciate how fun it is to be in the outdoors, to roam free, and play with other kids. It allows them to develop skills in sports, and perhaps discover a love for a new one.
It Develops Authenticity and Independence
Someday soon, our children will be the next stewards of their respective communities. As parents, we want them to find and appreciate their most authentic selves. We can only be with them for some time, so we want to teach them how to become independent. Being in a camp allows them to think for themselves and make sound decisions that prepare them for adulthood. For a faith-centered camp like ours at The Vineyard, we set-out activities that cultivate spiritual growth and acceptance. We put a strong emphasis on them learning how to interact and conduct themselves in a co-educational environment -- with a solid focus on loving God and one another.
At The Vineyard, we try to disciple youth using a “lifestyle approach” by spending most of the day with sports and recreation and offering evening worship services and optional Bible studies at night. Whether it is a gentle hand to teach a particular skill or taking time to reflect on nature’s quiet beauty in the forest, we teach by example and wait for the child’s response. Our feedback from campers and parents is very encouraging and explains why 80% of our campers return each year.
It Develops Your Child’s Self-Confidence
Our kids are attached to several comforts at home, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whether they are dependent on our presence and supervision, or simply just happy with themselves doing the things they love to do in the house or at school, it is also vital for our kids to let go of those comforts and confidently face the outside world. What will it be like to send my kids away from my supervision and allow him or her to parlay into a camp adventure? At first, there MAY be home-sickness. They will be subjected to activities that will challenge them to their limits—but momentary discomfort will make our kids self-reliant and CONFIDENT. Campers will experience personal growth like no other in camps.
They Gain Friends for Life!
What’s the best thing our kids could get from camp? Meeting friends, of course.
And what’s the next best thing to meeting friends? Meeting people who love the same things, cherish the same interests, and work their way to becoming the best on that!
For us parents, putting our kids in a world that they enjoy so much is the best gift we could ever give them. We are social beings—we crave friendships and validations, we look for conversations and moments of fun and laughter, and that’s something our kids experience in the camp every single day with people they end up becoming friends for life.
Team Work and a Sense of Community
It is our goal as parents to raise children that are independent and self-sufficient, but at the same time, we want to instill to them the value of respecting his / her fellows. When in camp, children get to partake activities that introduce the importance of team-work, because cliché as it may sound, no man is an island and no man stands alone. Our kids will thoroughly learn that to achieve success, they have to heed on to others—their friends, their fellow campers, and their mentors. They will ultimately appreciate that in this world, they are part of a bigger whole.
We are looking forward to meeting our new campers this year. As thousands of The Vineyard campers of the past and present could attest, our camp is a holy haven focused on developing our kids to become the best that they can be per Christian teachings. Your child will find a place to bloom as themselves, with a full appreciation of how they were made unique by God, and how beautiful life can be following his teachings. Registration for our 2020 camp sessions is ongoing, so reserve your child a slot NOW.