Studies by three universities show that attending camp is becoming ever more important. Schools are no longer helping children develop the essential life skills they need to succeed. Basically, children are NOT being provided sufficient guidance on “how to be a decent human being.” The core foundational skills of kindness, honesty, empathy, work ethic, communication skills, teamwork, and interpersonal skills are being substantially ignored. By providing a group living opportunity under the supervision of well trained staff, children learn to get along with each other, be sympathetic to other campers when they are experiencing difficulties, set and achieve goals, get along with others, and work as a team. There is NO other opportunity that so successfully encourages children to develop these life skills in so short a time. Kingsley Pines is a special place!!
Through experience and observing role models kids develop wisdom. At Kingsley Pines Camp, our staff demonstrate kindness, caring, and empathy! It is a child-centric place where children are exposed to a new place, people, and activities. The social skills developed at camp, such as meeting new people, improving conversation skills, and developing conflict resolution skills, are invaluable in a child’s development.
The Kingsley Pines Camp community is built around the philosophy of “Doing the right thing!” This is a skill the one best learns through experience. If errors in judgement occur in a caring and supportive environment, a child has the opportunity to make a course correction, rather than becoming defensive or even aggressive.
At camp, we teach judgement and common sense with an emphasis on thoughtfulness and morality. Our staff work as a team to make sure “No Child is left behind.” They are always guiding, role modeling, and being supportive.
Character is the MOST important thing a child can learn at KP. It involves respect for one’s self and for others. Campers learn to ask themselves: “Am I doing the right thing?” Children learn to do the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons!
The importance of unstructured play is terribly underestimated. Kids need time to simply play, both alone and with other children. As parents, we tend to over-organize our children. We want to plan out their activities and days.
Sports are an important element of play. They foster teamwork, cooperation, and self-confidence. However, as adults we have over-organized sports with too much emphasis on “winning” and not enough emphasis on developing skills such as running, catching, jumping, and throwing. Children need to develop their motor skills. Innately, children enjoy the opportunity to play with each other, and even make up activities and games.
Our emphasis on competition has reached absurd extremes. It often seems that parents are more invested in their child’s sports, than the child themself. We start competition at too young of an age. Let your child develop physically before involving them in competition.
Childhood is supposed to be FUN!
Changing the World
We may think that we cannot change the world. However, we can set an example for others to follow. WE are responsible for OUR actions and behavior. By setting an example for our family, friends, acquaintances, and others, we do influence others. It is not what we say that counts as much as how we behave. If we set an example of thoughtfulness, kindness, and civility, others will emulate our behavior. If you influence the behavior of just one more person, and they influence one more person, and so on, you have Changed The World!
A walk in the woods can accomplish miracles. In an age when lives are dominated by lighted screens, and outdoor activity is generally coached, taking a child on a walk is calming and expands their imagination. Asking kids to be aware of what they see and smell heightens their senses. It can also strengthen your bond. Take the opportunity to listen, be silent, and simply enjoy the peace and quiet. Three books that are worth reading are: The Nature Principal, Last Child in The Woods, and The Nature Fix. Enjoy! PC-You will benefit as much as your child.
Children are at a greater risk than we believe from smart phones and social media!
The NEW YORK TIMES reports that children, especially girls (1 in 4) are deliberately harming themselves. This at a time when our society seems to be “child focused.” Many children are spending up to 9 hours per day on their phones, where other people are evaluating their appearance and words. Children are jockeying for a sense of status that is largely unattainable. This often results in a poor self-image and depression.
The average age a child a receives a smart phone is 10. These are powerful tools designed for adults! I question why a 10 year old “needs” a smart phone. I suggest that at age 10 they are NOT emotionally mature, and should not be given such a device. They are nearly impossible to monitor, and put your child at risk of interacting with complete strangers.
As a parent, it is not healthy and simply unnecessary to be in constant contact with your child. If you feel your child needs a phone for emergency purposes, use a “flip phone” and severely limit the minutes purchased!
Once you give your child a smart device, it is nearly impossible to take it away (even for an hour). Help you child and give yourself a favor, delay giving your child a smart phone until they are mature enough to appreciate the responsibilities the use of such a device entails, and appreciate the social pressures that they will face.
Do not kid yourselves! Managing electronics and media with children is one of the most challenging issues facing parents today. Studies universally show that overuse of electronics is “harmful” to children. In our opinion, one of the primary impacts is they negatively impact a child’s ability to develop relationships. Children lose sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and empathy.
Many parents have a reactive approach to managing phones/iPads/games. They wait until they are fed up, then overreact. This generally results in conflict/yelling and getting upset. A better approach would be to develop a plan in advance of losing your patience. Try to involve your child in a discussion involving time limits, times of use/non use, etc.. This will not be easy, but if you can get buy in from your child, the chances of having a workable plan will be greatly increased.
Consider giving your child an outdoor experience like Kingsley Pines Camp, or Outward Bound, where electronic are NOT available.
Please share your your experiences and input.