Too Busy for Camp? ... Really?
Today, “busy” is a badge of honor. Sometimes I find myself engaged in “busyness contests” – you know, those conversations when we try to “one-up” our friends on whose schedule is more jam-packed.
As parents, we sometimes pass the “busyness bug” on to our children.
Don’t get me wrong - activities are great, but when too many are added to the schedule, things can get pretty chaotic. When my family’s schedule reaches a breaking point, I’ve found that I need to call a time out to ask the critical questions, like:
- What is my child gaining by participating in this activity?
- Is it stretching my child and growing them physically, emotionally and spiritually?
- Will this help them to build the character they need to thrive in our ever-changing world?
In the summer, asking these questions as parents is particularly important.
Now, I’ll admit. I am extremely biased, but I believe summer camp, especially one that is teaching biblical truth, is a very important time investment. Here’s why:
It will create an opportunity for your child to unplug.
The average child in America spends 270 minutes watching television, 82 minutes on their phone, 80 minutes playing video games and 27 minutes on the computer…in a single day!
At most Christian camps, including Forest Springs, we don’t do media because…well…because there’s so much more to fun to be had. Why sit at home and watch YouTube when you can be completing team high ropes challenges 50 feet in the air!
Many parents believe their children will be bored to tears without electronics, but nothing could be further from the truth. Camp challenges them to form new habits!
Your child will get plenty of exercise and fresh air.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average child gets approximately 4 minutes a day of outside play. On top of this, only 33% of teens are getting enough exercise.
Camps provide plenty of opportunities to get out, try new things and be active. We know that everyone is not a sports superstar. That’s why camps often provide a variety of activities. At Forest Springs, we mix it up with activities ranging from mini-golf and art projects to canoeing and kayaking. I can guarantee that your child will come home from camp having tried and succeeded at some new activity.
They’ll be ready to tell you all about their experiences.
My oldest child is 9 years old. I am already finding it difficult to get her to talk about her day. I am not alone. In fact, a study from California State University found that the average child spends 3.5 minutes every week in a meaningful conversation with a parent.
After a week at camp, my children CANNOT stop talking about their camp experiences. In fact, just yesterday my daughter was talking about her counselor from last summer. A week at camp won’t blow the doors to conversation wide open, but I can tell you that it will help!
They will have 6 days away from distractions and the normal pressures of life.
We, as parents, experience a great deal of daily stress. Kids do too, and often we don’t realize it.
Camp provides 6 days away from all of it – offering a place where young people decompress, dream and believe. Safe risks can be taken and important questions can be asked. For many young people, camp is a place where they can experience high adventure, experience the beauty of God’s creation, interact with caring adult role models, and have an opportunity time to think and ask important questions. In a fast-paced world, this experience is really counter cultural.
Parents: Don’t lose site of the big picture. Choose carefully.
As one parent talking to another, I encourage you to choose carefully this summer and be intentional.
At a Christian camp, you are not just providing your child with a 6-day excursion. You are providing them with an opportunity to make their faith in Christ their own, or take a step forward in their spiritual walk. Remember, the spiritual investments made in your child today will impact their worldview and how they process important life decisions moving forward. Make time for the things that matter!