Many people ask us why we believe sending their teenager on a school holiday camp is a good thing. Here are our tip six reasons:
1. Parents at work, teens at home – alone.
Whilst we may not like it parents do have to go to work and therefore teenagers are left at home alone. This is not always a bad thing, not all teenagers will go wild and roam the streets in search of trouble, but it does leave the option open. If your teenager at least has the opportunity to spend even half the holidays busy at a camp it does ensure their time for getting bored and into trouble is limited.
2. Improve their social skills
Like many adults, teenagers can become stuck in the rut of sticking with what is familiar. Humans do not like to step outside of their comfort zone unless they see real value in doing so. By forcing them to extend themselves and step outside their circle of familiarity gives them the opportunity to develop their interpersonal social skills.
3. Supports their need for independence
One of the struggles parents often have with teenagers is around independence. Teenagers are seeking opportunity to spread their wings and become their own person, but mum and dad often have other expectations. By attending a school holiday camp or similar type of program it allows them to explore new perspectives and stand on their own two feet without their parents hovering above to see what is going on. Often one of the biggest roadblocks to sending kids on camps are the parents need to hold on to their little baby… Hello mum and dad – they are not babies anymore.
4. Allows them to develop essential life skills
Being at camp allows them to apply essential life skills that are often lying dormant at home. When they are in unfamiliar territory and stepping into their uncomfortable zone the are forced to think more about their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours – it forces them to become more self-aware. Other skills which they are working on are resilience, courage, interpersonal skills, team work, leadership, and much more.
5. They are exposed to new life perspectives
Sometimes we can get stuck in our beliefs which have been, or still are, imposed upon us from our immediate environment (family, friends, teachers). We just start to accept that way of life and that there is nothing we can do about it. By seeing the world through other people’s eyes (their peers and their camp mentors) it encourages them to see new opportunities. For example I lived in a struggling working class family most of whom never finished school – let alone university, never owned their own homes, always relied on financial help, never had a strong career ethic – so for the first part of my adult life was spent living that way. It wasn’t until I was shown a new perspective and how other people do things did I realise that I too could go to university, invest in property, and achieve financial independence and security.
6. Gets them off the technology and into a more health lifestyle
If we don’t give them something to keep them busy then they resort to their computers, mobile phones, TV, and other forms of technology to keep their minds busy. By giving them things which stimulate their mind and body it reduces the chances of physical and mental health problems from being able take hold of them. Whilst I do not believe technology is evil (it does have benefits if used correctly) there are many benefits to taking a technology fasting period and enjoying the outdoors for a while. You would be surprised how many teenagers tell me how nice it was to have a break from technology and they really didn’t miss it whilst on the camp – it is just what they resort too when nothing better is on offer.
Whilst that is just six reasons why I like the idea of school holiday camps there are many more. They are not only for troubled youth needing a military style boot camp or kids who just want the entire thing to be all fun and no learning. Our camps at Real Life Solutions are designed to offer the best of both worlds – fun and adventurous but also educational and informative.