The Importance of Camp | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
May 2013

The Importance of Camp

By Kelly Peterson-Cruse

The Importance of Camp…

I have written before on the importance of a camp experience on the faith formation of our young people, but the camping experience can contribute measurable, important outcomes for youth development as a whole. The American Camps Association has found that young people that go to camp show significant growth in:

  • Self-esteem
  • Peer relationships
  • Independence
  • Adventure and exploration
  • Leadership
  • Environmental awareness
  • Friendship skills
  • Values and decisions
  • Social comfort
  • Spirituality

As reported by parents, staff and campers themselves in several surveys conducted by ACA in both 2001 and 2004. As well, the benefits of camp are also shown in their :

  • confidence and self-esteem
  • social skills and making friends
  • independence and leadership qualities
  • willingness to try and adventurousness
  • spiritual growth, especially at camps focused on spirituality.

So consider what camp could mean to the young people in your church, your neighborhood. With “nature deficit” so widespread among our young people, and the reported benefits a camp experience can provide, how can we NOT send our send our young people to spend a week that will impact their life forever? I have been going to camp every summer since I was in 3rd grade and I can say it had a profound impact on me. As well, I reflect upon my daughter who will leave in a few weeks to work at a summer camp in Croatia. She is thankful and very aware of the growth, skills and lifelong friends she has obtained from growing up at camp. I always say is Camp IS where you need to be each summer. See you there!