Nature Deficit Disorder

I had an interesting conversation the other day with one of my friends who has a 4 year old. I asked her if she’ll be sending her son to summer camp this year and she answered  “Camp? No, I’m off work for the summer so there’s no need”.

It always amazes me when I hear this. Maybe it’s because I went to camp myself and the memories I have will be with me forever. Maybe it’s because I work with camps and have the opportunity to hear the stories of how kids mature and grow during their time there. Either way, my opinion is that camp is one of the best opportunities you can offer your child, and I don’t think I’m alone.

The benefits of unplugged and unstructured play, where kids have the chance to lead and learn from each other, are examined in the popular book Last Child In The Woods. Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha & The Kawartha Outdoor Education Centre discusses this book in his article on bringing nature back into the lives of today’s kids — who are all too often sitting at a screen of some sort — TV, computer, game boy, cell phone…

My advice to all parents is give camp a try. If you attended camp as a child, you already know the social and physical benefits, but for all those parents who just don’t get it… visit camp for a day and you’ll see the positive learning environment. During these uncertain economic times, it’s an investment you won’t lose on.

Photo of Camp Can-Aqua. ©Our Kids archives.

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