As parents we may think of summer camps as nature, fun and a relaxing break for kids. While this might apply to some kids, for others stress, anxiety, lack of resiliency and negative emotions get in the way of having a great time at camp.
A 2010 study by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of America’s kids are stressed and experiencing headaches, anxiety and sleeping difficulty. In 2015 about 3 million teenager from 12-17 had at least one major depressive episode. Most kids spend the school year with packed schedules - homework, after school activities, extracurricular clubs, technology and not enough sleep. Further, kids are dealing with bullying, hormonal changes and pressure from parents and teachers. This makes it difficult for them to solve problems, make good choices and pay attention.
There are camps available that offer a curriculum that creates a positive, supportive and nurturing atmosphere. They teach relaxation, self-awareness and compassion through mindfulness and yoga for kids. Mindfulness skills that taught include: mindful breathing - simply bringing awareness to their breathing; mindful listening - teaches kids how to pay attention; body scan - helps kids pay attention to their bodies while learning to relax different muscles; paying attention to emotions - teaches kids to pay attention to their emotions (which is an important and difficult skill). The mindfulness skills taught at these camps also carry over to the school year, helping kids stay focused and calm throughout the day.
There are camps and programs for kids entering middle school or transitioning to high school, as well as, programs for kids experiencing symptoms related to:
-Autism Spectrum Disorder
-Executive Functioning Deficits
-Gifted/Talented with Challenging Academic Performance
These camps and programs focus on transitioning, social-emotional functioning, executive functioning skills and family relational skills challenges.
The good news is that today’s summer camps operate on a whole new level. A good camp will instill appreciation and gratitude, as well as, help build confidence and improve self esteem.
Birch Psychology is not able to specifically recommend any of the following camps. We are providing the following links as a starting point for families interested in exploring these options for their children:
www.coloradoacademysummer.org/day-camp * variety of camp themes with an overarching focus on self-confidence
Mary Jo Hartwell, BS, MSHA