For most parents in this day and age, sending a child away from late June to early August is a huge deal. We have noticed this trend of parent concern towards being away from their kids is more evident than ever. Perhaps that is why the summer camp experience is as beneficial as it has even been before!
Camp creates advantages for kids by providing an experience through which they can build the skills that predict for success in college, career, and life: resilience, independence, optimism, self-regulation, and the ability to connect with others. [i] That is why parents choose to extend those advantages as much as possible. The kids choose coming back every year because they love it! We love seeing (and hearing from parents after the summer) such amazing amounts of growth in a variety of social, psychological, athletic and artistic areas every summer. One aspect that has become clear to us over the years is that true growth takes time.
Overnight summer camp for girls is a powerful vehicle for developing strong friendships, self-confidence, gratitude and appreciation for others and the environment. We as parents understand the desire to have our children near and/or participate in shorter, specialized programs, and yet we have seen first hand that full session camping is the most valuable kind of camp experience for kids.
Girls travel to Maine from as far away as California and Arizona only knowing their camp big sister, pen-pal, and Kyle and Emily, and they soon have great friends and an extraordinary sense of accomplishment. All of the wonderful things about camp are maximized when girls are allowed to experience them together for a longer period of time: friendships and connections to community and tradition are stronger, girls become more self-reliant, skills are developed further, and values become more meaningful. This is one of the main reasons why girls come back every summer.
Perhaps the strongest argument for full session camping comes directly from Vega campers. We hear year after year from our campers that, “Vega is the only place where I can truly be myself.” It is rare and priceless for girls to find a place where they can be “real.” We know that this is possible because our community lives, loves and laughs together from late June through early August.