In praise of summer camp
This summer, from church camp to sports camps, kids across Oklahoma are taking part in a wide array of activities. While most people still think highly of camps and activities for kids, some so-called “Helicopter Parents” have a tough time sending their kids off to camp for a week, or even a day.
Yet I want to offer three reasons why camps continue to be popular and are helpful:
1. A break from the ordinary
Wake up. Eat Breakfast. Watch YouTube. Eat Lunch. Play video games. Eat dinner. Play more video games or watch a movie. Go to bed. The summertime routine can quickly become same-old, same-old. When kids take part in the camp, they learn to get outside their routine and try new activities. It could be a zip line or fishing; it could be learning a new sports technique or even memorizing Bible verses. The camp experience, like no other, puts a young person outside their normal routine and allows them to break into new areas of interest that could fuel new positive hobbies and habits.
2. A break from digital distraction
A study showed that people check their cell phones 150 times per day on average. In the summer time, for kids with devices like iPads, that could be even more. I don’t have to quote the latest experts for us to recognize that our technology-crazed society has gone overboard with digital entertainment. With camps, especially those which don’t allow personal devices to be brought, the kids get a mental break from all those text, pings and GIFFs.
3. A connection to the outdoors
If you look in the Bible, you see that Jesus spent a great deal of time outdoors. He often withdrew to pray and draw strength. We can do the same with camps, where we experience the awe of God’s Creation (Psalm 19). Whether it be a rustic-setting family camp or on a soccer field, getting some fresh air and exercise does these youngsters well.
I am the first to admit that not all camps or camp experiences are positive. But this summer and beyond, hopefully your family and friends have found an opportunity to take a break from the ordinary and technology, as well as connect with other people and God’s Creation.