Posts Tagged ‘helping children learn self reliance’

Teaching 21st Century Skills in a Camp Setting

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Camp Starlight knows that the weeks we get to spend with campers each summer is precious. It is an opportunity to do character building and confidence boosting. We have the opportunity to be the backdrop for millions of memories and connect people who can grow to be lifelong friends. The work we do here, although disguised as fun, is serious. We use the limited time we have with our campers and use it to instill 21st-century principles that promote strong character, morals, and ideals in every camper.


When campers are guided on how to solve their differences through careful and respectful mediation, they are learning how to disagree with others without being mean or hurtful. When they can identify their feelings and communicate it with others, they are learning conflict management skills and maturing in their emotional development. These tools are vital in navigating the “real world” whether it’s their school campus, their first job or their first relationship. At camp, kids learn to respect each other, listen without interrupting, compromise, communicate, and be patient and considerate and honest. These principles will make it easier for them to maintain healthy relationships as they grow.


Each camper has a responsibility to keep the campus as beautiful as it was when he or she arrived. Our zero tolerance policy for littering and our emphasis on taking care of the environment helps campers realize how they impact the environment and how important it is to keep the world around them clean. Campers spend most of their days outside, connecting with nature and learning to appreciate the beauty around them. Exploring and enjoying Mother Nature doesn’t come naturally to all campers, and spending time at camp helps develop an appreciation for the environment.


At camp, each camper has a story to tell. Each child arrives at camp with a history, a background, baggage (no pun intended) fears, strengths, and perceptions. As campers begin to integrate with each other, they quickly see how different they are all, but how those differences don’t need to divide them. They learn to help each other; to recognize a need in other campers and address it. There is no “us” and “them” at camp. Camp Starlight is intentional about fostering a generation of helpers, includers, and givers. We know that if we want a world full of people who care about each other, who don’t judge each other and who seek out opportunities to make others feel good, we have to start with the kids.


Campers go home with more friends, better skills and a lot to talk about. But our goal is that each camper leaves a bit better than they came. And that we can instill basic morals and ideals into them that will help them become better students, siblings, friends, and eventually, adults. Camp is safe, camp is fun, and camp is designed to better the lives of campers and their families every year.

Learning Self-Reliance at Summer Camp

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

When the time comes to make the decision about sending a child to summer camp, many parents worry because it will often be the first time their children will be “on their own”.  How will they decide what to wear, what to eat, and in which activity periods to participate?  Easily overlooked is the staff of young, yet well-trained staff just waiting to help campers with such decisions.  However, essentially to parents, it’s the first time their children will be making a lot of their own decisions, and it’s nerve-wracking to think how they will do not being under their parents’ watchful eyes.  But wait!  Isn’t this what parents have been preparing their children to do from day one?  The new found freedom and independence children gain at Camp Starlight gives them the chance to exercise the tools their parents have instilled in them and, further, develop self-confidence and learn reliance.

By learning to do more things on their own, self esteem booms and children feel more comfortable trying to new things as well as further engaging in familiar activities.  This type of development is a different sort of development children acquire in the classroom.  However, it can lead to higher performance levels when they return to the schoolyard after a summer at sleepaway camp.  By learning that putting themselves out there and making decisions for themselves while in a summer camp setting leads to success, children often become more assertive in the classroom as well.  Even more exciting is that parents may find their children taking more ownership of their personal areas and roles in the home life.  They just might clear their own dinner plates once in awhile without being asked!

When a child returns from summer camp, a parent certainly should not expect their “organized chaos” children to run back into their arms as “hospital bed corners” children.  But they can look forward to a child who has a boosted self-esteem and a greater sense of independence.  This change exhibits itself in different forms, whether it’s the highly sought after unsolicited plate clearing, the desire to sign-up for new clubs or teams, or even just less anxiety when heading off to a class full of new, undiscovered friends.  No matter the manifestation, the results of allowing your children to take the step toward individuality and self reliance that they will find at summer camp are surely going to supercede the few times during the summer that you let yourself wonder, “Does he know to floss before he brushes?!”