If you went on a summer camp abroad when you were young, you already know what an amazingly important time in your life it was. If you never went on a summer camp, you need to know that it is an amazingly important time in any child's life. Here are some of the reasons:
Your children have already had some key events in their lives. Their first day at nursery. The day they learned to swim or ride a bike. They still have more such key events to come before they reach adulthood. For many teenagers, a summer camp is one such important key time in their lives. It is a time when they gain important new experiences without their parents.
It is a time when they become more confident; when they grow up a lot in a short space of time.
There will be many parents who think "My teenage child is too young for that. She couldn't manage without us."
If that is your reaction, then there are two things you must know. First, that is exactly why your teenager should go on a summer camp for teens - to gain the experience of managing on his or her own. Secondly, the person who is most likely to have difficulty coping is not your child, it's you!
You will worry: that is what parents do! You will worry from the moment you check your children in at the airport or drop them off at the camp to the moment you pick them up again at the end.
What you must not do is fall into the trap of constantly contacting your child. Mobile phones make that so easy, but frequent calls from parents can have a very negative effect on your children. They are in a new environment, learning how to cope in new situations. Your phone call suddenly takes them out of that situation and reminds them of how things were before they started to make this new journey of discovery. Now you are there to answer the questions they were about to work out for themselves.
Of course you want them to let you know that they have arrived safely, but calling them for long talks every day will intensify any feeling of homesickness that they have and prevent them from gaining the independence they will otherwise achieve.
A summer camp is going to make them more independent; regular calls will prevent that from happening and cause your children a lot of difficulties on the way. Let them know that you are there for them if they need you, but then give them the space to make this new experience on their own.
As a parent, one of your main tasks is to prepare your children for the time they finally leave the nest. A summer camp provides a safe sample of how that life will be. It gives your child an idea of life without the safety net of parents. Of course there are camp leaders who take on some of that role, but only some. Your children are given the space and freedom to experience a little of how life will be when they have left the family home. They will gain confidence and independence, which are important qualities that they are going to need one day soon.
In being in an environment where they do not have parents around to help with everything or anything, your teenagers will form relationships with other people at the camp. They will get ideas and feedback from others and make decisions on their own. With time, they will discover that they are able to fend for themselves and make decisions on their own; their self-esteem will grow.
A summer camp for teenagers is a place where characters are built and developed. Your children will experience teamwork and how to treat others. They will gain confidence in dealing with other people and at the end of their time at the camp they should have improved and strengthened characters and personalities. Even if your children are shy, they will improve their social and communication skills.
In an age when most teenagers spend a great deal of time in front of one digital device or another at school and at home, a summer camp is a valuable time for them to concentrate more on other things; to get away from the monitor and talk to people, to get out and experience the real world rather than a virtual world.
A summer camp for teens is a great place to learn new skills. Most camps offer a varied programme of activities, many of which your child would not normally otherwise get to do.
International camps for teenagers provide a wonderful opportunity to get to know people of a similar age from all over the world. This first-hand insight into other cultures and ways of life can be a valuable experience in itself. A summer camp is a place where teenagers often make their best friends, and such friendships can last a lifetime.