As a camp counselor, I’ve always been surprised by the wide range of lessons that campers take away from the outdoor adventure activities at camp.
Some campers benefit most from building a sense of self-reliance and resourcefulness. Others particularly enjoy the non-competitive aspects of the activities, which combine the adrenaline of sports with the positivity of teamwork. And of course, some campers just like having fun in the sun.
Regardless of interests, everybody at Camp Starlight gets to benefit from outdoor education. Nature, like adventure, is universally meaningful — and universally fun.
A camper must learn to trust themselves before they learn to trust others, and outdoor skill-building is one of the greatest ways to build self-confidence.
The world is a scary place, and survival skills like fire-starting and shelter-building teach campers that strength comes from within; all it takes to survive and thrive in the world is a little know-how and ingenuity.
…Not to mention that knowing a thing or two about how to pitch a tent and read a map opens up a whole new world of outdoor recreation activities for life outside camp!
Teamwork vs. competition
Teamwork is one of the core values at camp, and nothing builds trust and communication between teammates quite like working together to solve the fundamental human needs that outdoor exploration puts us in touch with. That being said, outdoor adventure still requires a high level of teamwork, even though the objective isn’t “beating” another team.
There are no winners and losers when the goal is to make a campfire or build a cool shelter; it’s campers against the wilderness, rather than campers against campers. Students learn to work together to conquer a challenge, without worrying about accomplishing anything more or less than their absolute best.
Finding our place in the world
When it comes to outdoor adventure at camp, the “outdoor” side is at least as important as the “adventure” side.
Adventure is all well and good, but the raw experience of being in nature is what makes seemingly simple activities like hiking and camping so memorable. Particularly for campers coming from the city, a reminder of how small we all are in the grand scheme of things can be immeasurably valuable. The great outdoors are important for everyone. After all, it’s wild woods, crisp air and clean water that makes Camp Starlight such a special place to “get away from it all!”
Whatever particular aspect of outdoor adventure captures a camper’s imagination, they are guaranteed to walk away with a new sense of empowerment. We live in a fast-paced and quickly changing world, and the outdoor experiences at camp leave campers ready to tackle the world with creativity, determination, and humility. Just get outside and try it!