It’s a great time of year… thousands of Scouts and Scouters across the country are packing their gear and getting ready for some of the most action-packed, adventure-filled days of the year: summer camp, Scout style. This is a time for memory making, for meeting new friends, learning new skills and exploring the great outdoors. Most of all, camp provides an opportunity for young people to take the lead, test their abilities and push their limits, all while having a blast.
Year-round, the BSA provides fun, life-changing experiences young people can’t get anywhere else, but Scout summer camp takes it to a new level through an immersive, intense Scouting experience. It’s a good, exhausting time. But, rest assured, parents: while skits and songs are encouraged, camp’s not all about fun and games around the campfire or even knocking out a few merit badges. It’s about giving young people an opportunity to build the foundation of leadership skills and personal character that will stay with them and set them up for success later in life.
Recent research in the Journal of Youth Development shows that attending summer camp helps youth develop skills essential to success in academics and in the workplace. What researchers found by studying camp attendees was that the experiences intrinsic to summer camps – trying new activities, living with your peers, being required to be more independent – all inspired personal growth. After their experiences at camp, young people displayed higher levels of skills in three areas: teamwork and collaboration, positive self-image, and work ethic and conscientiousness.
I myself have seen these kinds of results time and again. As the adults let the youth take the lead, Scouts rise to the challenge in amazing and unexpected ways.
Parents often tell me how they see their kids come home with new confidence and independence. A little more Prepared. For Life.
To all those heading for camp this year, happy trails, stay safe and have fun!
Yours in Scouting,