After reading the article “Creating Advantage in College” by Steve Baskin, I asked our staff for their opinions on whether their camp experience had helped prepare them for college. Here’s what they said…
“Camp has truly changed my life. At camp I learned to be a leader through the CILT program and I took that training and applied it to sports in college. Through the skills I learned at camp, I became the captain of the swim team and lead my team to victory. It felt so good applying skills such as cooperation, responsibility and communication with my team. I 100% have camp to thank!”
“When I was a couple months into my first teaching job, one of my students commented that I was different from other first year teachers: that I knew how to teach. I attributed it to having taught (activities and Bible Ex.) since I was 16.”
“I majored in Education in College. At Camp, having gone through the CILT program and having practice teaching opportunities, I was much more prepared to be a leader in classroom. My professor called it the “It” factor.”
Camp offers tons of fun. Flying down the zipline, learning to swim, and scavenger hunts are the things most people think of when they visualize summer camp. They also think of movies like Heavyweights and The Parent Trap. But camp is so much more. Every day I am amazed to see in our campers, CILTs (camper in leadership training), and staff the leadership qualities valued by society. Development of personal qualities is a hidden value of the summer camp experience.
It is amazing how many skills a child can learn at camp: collaboration, innovation, creativity, initiative, self-direction, leadership, and responsibility. Simple and fun programs like a high ropes course can teach campers how to work together as a team, communicate with each other, and problem solve. These are qualities they will need to flourish in college—qualities that will make them student body president, sports captains, and chess champions.
Attending college—especially in today’s competitive environment—is tough even for the most seasoned young adults. Giving them a leg up during this tough time in their lives will do wonders. Camp will give them valuable experience in how to live away from their parents for an extended period of time, how to set their own daily schedule, and how to live with others, even others they may not like. I am deeply saddened by how many children today cling to their parents for everything. Camp allows children to experience and thrive on their own, perhaps for the first time in their lives. I want to partner with parents to nurture and educate children. I want to partner with parents to help their kids grow into great leaders and scholars.
Our acceptance letter to campers admitted to the Camp Cedarbrook in the Adirondacks leadership program expresses it this way:
“Through all of these experiences I hope you will have a lot of fun, form lasting relationships with the girls in your CILT group, and learn leadership skills that will help you both as you assume a leadership role at camp and as you have leadership opportunities in your school, church, or even on mission trips. Most importantly, you will be challenged in your walk with God, and I pray grow in your relationship with Him.”