Summer camp has been a nostalgic summer staple for kids for decades. No matter where you live or the money you come from, kids across America have attended summer camps as a regular part of American childhood. Summer camp antics, crafts, sports and romances are the stuff that movies, books and memories are made of. I attended religious and girl scout camps when I was young. My kids have attended both religious and sports camps and loved every minute of their time away from home.

While summer camp attendance has slowly declined in recent years, there are so many benefits for children to attend sleep-away camps. From making new friends to trying new things, kids can learn a lot from a week or two away at camp. Here are just three of the reasons why time at camp can be so beneficial for kids. 

1. Kids Unplug and Get Active

One of the best advantages to sending your kids to camp is that they unplug from technology. As culture and society become more and more tech-saturated, kids can spend far more of their time staring at screens than engaging in active, physical games. This can lead to a number of health issues down the road and can make it harder for kids to focus in school. Sending your child to an outdoor adventure camp or a youth sports camp is a great way to help them ditch their phones for a week and try something new. 

2. They Experience Being Away From Home

Camp may be the first time a child has really spent a chunk of time away from home, especially if they are younger. Being at an overnight camp for a week or even two can teach children how to be more independent and take initiative in new situations. And whether they’re choosing what to eat for breakfast or choosing which activity to take part in during the afternoon, camp can also help kids learn how to make their own choices.  

3. They Make New Friends

Of course, one of the best parts of camp is getting to make new friends! For shy children, this may be a challenge at first, but it can really help them step outside of their comfort zones. For outgoing children, this can be something to really look forward to! Camp can offer a great opportunity for kids to hone their interpersonal skills. For children without siblings, camp is great practice! Sometimes, friendships made at camp can develop into lifelong relationships.

Your child has so many incredible choices for camps to attend. There are camps for every type of religion, sports and music. There are camps for organizations such as boy scouts, Indian princesses and Special Olympics. There are specialized camps too, like support for kids with parents who have cancer or even kid cooking camps!

Whether your kids are interested in camps for orchestra, horseback-riding, or something in-between, a week or two spent away can do wonders for their self-confidence and social skills. They might even try all sorts of new foods and activities. When they come back home, they will most likely be happier, more mature and more self confident from their experiences.