The Confidence-Building Adventure of Camp

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Classic activities such as swimming, crafts and archery will always remain part of the camp experience. However, some kids need additional activities that offer a little more simulation and challenge. For these kids, adventure camp is the way to go.

The aim of adventure camps is to help kids build self confidence by teaching them new and challenging skills in an unfamiliar natural environment. Because of the extent of physical activity involved, adventure camps are known for providing a high level of safety. The bulk of these camps tend to be located in wilderness settings, such as Western Canada, The Rockies or the Adirondacks in NY State.

Adventure camps tend to offer a wide range of challenging activities such as Back-packing, rock climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and white-water rafting, although the exact types vary depending on the location. Most first-time campers have no experience performing these types of activities. This type of experience places campers in a physically and emotionally safe environment where they confront any nervousness or anxieties they have about performing the activities. With the help of experienced staff and support from fellow campers, children are able to perform the tasks successfully, enhancing their self confidence in the process. Research done on school children suggests adventure-based programs significantly increase a student’s self-esteem, thereby improving their ability to resist temptations such as drugs and alcohol.

In addition to regular activities, many adventure camps offer multi-day trips as well. These trips tend to involve a succession of days away from base camp where campers sleep in tents and make meals over a campfire. Whitewater rafting, Canoeing, hiking and mountain climbing are among activities commonly part of adventure trips.

All adventure camp activities and trips are conducted under the supervision and guidance of experienced staff who possess wilderness first aid amongst an arsenal of other certifications and years of related experience. The goal of these camps is to make sure campers have fun without putting their safety at risk. Staff members of these camps take great efforts to provide proper instruction to campers before engaging in activities. Counselors will not allow campers to engage in a particular activity unless they are confident the child can participate without compromising their safety.

Tips to consider when looking at adventure camps:
-Talk with the camp director. This will provide a better feel of whether the mission and offerings of the camp would be a good fit with your child.
-Find out about camper-to-staff ratio. Five to six campers per counselor is considered an acceptable standard.
-Ask about the experience and training of the camp counselors. Find out whether the camp staff is CPR and first aid certified and if they have received training on how to handle outdoor emergency situations.

Adventure camps are not for everyone. However, if your child attends one this summer, rest assured they will leave the experience with an enhanced self-esteem, a set of newly acquired outdoor skills, a better understanding of nature and a greater insight into the sensibility of others.

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