February 6, 2014
I. Building Social IQ
The first difference is that most overnight sports camps are one week in length. One of the most valuable opportunities at a resident camp is practicing how to build real, substantive friendships. At a one week camp, the first few days are spent getting the hang of the routine and getting used to the new environment. Then the last day or two is spent wrapping up and getting all of those last activities in, so there really isn’t enough time to build meaningful friendships. It takes two or three weeks of living together to adequately stretch that social muscle.
One other difference is that your child is unlikely to be pushed outside of his comfort zone if he gets to focus on his favorite sport all day. We grow when we are pushed. At a traditional overnight camp, he will be exposed to dozens of different activities each week. He will still get to play his favorite sports, but will also try things like rock climbing, skiiing, and music that will stretch his abilities in other ways. It’s healthy for kids to do things that they are good at, but also to do activities at which they are not quite so naturally proficient.
Finally, we have to remember “Coach’s little secret”. Every year, we take at least one call from a long time camper whose sports coach is insisting that he or she attend summer practices that conflict with camp, at the risk of not making the starting lineup next year. The coach will always play the best players, and three weeks at camp might come as a needed break from endless, year-round practice.
In fact, participating in multiple sports and activities at a young age will young athletes develop a wider range of movement pattern capabilitites. Research shows that pre-high school aged children achieve greater benefits to overall motorskill development from athletic generalization than sport specific specializiation. If Drew Brees could find a way to take three weeks off from football each summer to come to Camp Champions, most other athletes probably can too.
If your kids are interested in a specialty sports camp, go ahead and send them! They will enjoy it and find out whether that’s a sport they want to stick with. Just make sure that overnight camp doesn’t get crowded out of the schedule, because it’s overnight camp that’s teaching your kids the most important skills that they will gain over the summer.
We have compiled resources for you to find the right summer camp for your families needs. Learn more by clicking the link below.