It’s that time of year again, overnight camp has taken my kids away for the summer and once again I get all the big questions, mainly, ‘how can you be away from them that long?’ This article sums it all up for me, camp is for them, they may not realize it now but I am giving them something that many kids these days don’t learn until college and then it may be too late! I recently read this article entitled “Creating Advantage in College” written Steve Baskin a camp director, published in Psychology Today. He writes about a speech he heard by Dr. Wendy Mogel who shared a story about a good friend of hers whose daughter was a freshman in college and was thriving in her first semester.
She earned exceptional marks (making the Dean’s List) and she became president of the freshman class. During Parents weekend, her mother met the mother of a senior who was president of the entire student body and was weighing various job offers. The two mothers were sharing stories about their daughter’s college experience when the mother of the senior shared an unexpected thought:
“I bet your daughter went to overnight summer camp.”
“She did, but what makes you say that?”
“I am not surprised. I have noticed that my daughter’s friends who had strong freshman years all went to overnight camp at some point. The ones that really struggled did not.”
He goes on to write that going to college presents many challenges, three of which jump out at (him):
- Increased academic rigor (college work is simply harder than high school work)
- Being away from home and your traditional support system (family, friends, familiar places)
- Dealing with large amounts of uncertainty (what will classes require, how will I fit in socially, can I deal with this new roommate)
Of course, overnight camp does little to deal with the first challenge of academic rigor, but it helps substantially with both of the other challenges.