Forming-bonds-building-memoriesGather around, parents. It’s time to have a “family meeting.” Let’s face it; life is hectic. With never-ending to-do lists and super busy schedules, everyone in the family is under pressure. Finding time as parents to unwind is near impossible, but imagine what it must be like for our children. Constantly being shuffled around to practice and games, tutoring and study groups, auditions and rehearsals, plus balancing a teen’s social life, kids often feel like they don’t know which way is up.

How do we teach our children to slow down, live in the moment, and embrace life if we don’t always know how to do that ourselves? I found the answer in a pastime many of us enjoyed as children…

Summer Camp! Do you remember those days of packing up your duffel bag and climbing onto a bus packed with avid campers like yourself? Do you remember the freedom you felt to be far away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday routines of school, chores, homework, and boring weekends with “nothing to do”? Many of us found our home away from home and best friends at camp. Or maybe you never got to attend summer camp, but always wanted to.

We all want our children to have the best experiences. We want to give them more than we ever had, and that’s admirable, but sometimes what they need isn’t the next best gadget or a fantastic vacation. There’s something magical about the simplicity of summer camp, getting back to basics, and building strong connections in real life instead of connecting online.

Sleep-Away Camp (also known as Overnight Camp or Residential Camp) is my answer to the timeless question of how to raise well-rounded children. Camp gives our children so many opportunities to learn and grow, to develop a sense of independence and responsibility, and to experience adventures and activities they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

Camp connects our children with people they might never have met in their day to day lives. Exposing them to diversity not only teaches them tolerance and acceptance, but it also expands their worldview to a global perspective. Your child will learn that the world is so much bigger than they might have imagined. Camp counselors are positive role models encouraging and supporting our kids in a safe, supportive, supervised, and age appropriate environment for teens.

Leaving home is a big deal. Doing so successfully at a camp with a trusted Camp Director and well-trained staff to guide them in that transition will boost your child’s self-esteem and ease your worries. You may be surprised at how well your child can thrive away from home. Leadership and decision-making skills will bloom, and many shy campers feel comfortable letting their personalities shine in the accepting and encouraging community at camp.

Sleep-Away Camp is an extraordinary life-changing experience for all children, especially teenagers. They will form friendships, learn new skills, make lasting memories, and definitely be more active than they would be staying home and hanging out with friends. We found our camp family and home away from home at French Woods Sports and Arts Center in New York – America’s TOP Summer Camp for Teens. Check them out online, meet the Camp Director in person, or schedule a tour of the camp. You may have just found the perfect summer camp for your family!

By Mallory Strock