Positive Outcomes of Summer Camp
Ask any American what they think of when you say “Boy Scouts” and the vast majority will mention camping and the outdoors. It is as American as baseball, hotdogs, or apple pie. While the association of Boy Scouts and the fun of outdoor adventure is a natural one, it is perhaps more important to understand that camping experiences provide more than just fun.
Summer camp offers Scouts the opportunity to participate in physically and intellectually challenging activities, introduces them to new and rewarding experiences, and provides them with supportive and caring relationships. Summer Camp delivers campers experiences in six critical areas of healthy youth development.
- Strong Personal Values and Character: Reflective and thought-provoking activities are one avenue through which summer camp helps build strong values and character
- Positive Sense of Self-Worth and Usefulness: Summer camp helps to instill a positive sense of self-worth and usefulness in young people by providing them with service opportunities, as well as positive peer-to-peer and intergenerational communications. In addition, summer camp helps to build young people’s leadership skills, confidence, and self-esteem.
- Caring and Nurturing Relationships With Parents, Other Adults, and Peers: Summer camp builds caring and nurturing relationships by engaging young people in group activities with both peers and adults. And for a majority of Scouts, strong bonds of friendship are developed at summer camp.
- A Desire to Learn: Life is about learning and using what is learned to improve things for oneself and others. Youth who are not given opportunities to test and explore new things may never live up to their full potential. Summer camp is, in effect, an outdoor classroom for learning experiences. The majority of boys “try something they have never tried before”
- Productive and Creative Use of Time: Summer camp provides young people with productive and creative uses for their time by offering a valuable mix of both physical and intellectual activities.
- Social Adeptness: Summer camp helps young people to become more socially adept by offering them opportunities to participate in and contribute to team-building activities.
For decades, parents have given anecdotal evidence to BSA camp directors and staff members that the camp experience changed their sons. One commonly communicated sentiment has been, “you took my boy and he came home more like a young man.” More than 80 percent of parents indicate that summer camp resulted in a positive change in their sons.
When asked to describe the reasons they believe a positive change took place, parents mention growth in self-esteem, new skills learned, and increased levels of personal responsibility.
Overall, parents speak highly of and appear very impressed with Scout summer camps. Nationally, 93 percent of parents say their son’s summer camp experience met or exceeded their expectations. Almost all (96 percent) say they would recommend Scout summer camp to others.
From Scout Leaders...
Leaders enjoy and appreciate their time spent at Scout summer camps. Nationally, 94 percent of leaders say they met all or some of their goals, and 53 percent say their experience was better than they thought it would be. Leaders who attend Boy Scout summer camp overwhelmingly agree that the camp offers them the following benefits:
- Played a role in helping young people succeed/grow
- Helped youth realize their own abilities
- Was with people I respect
- Built friendships with youth
more than a fun-filled adventure, an experience teaching values and building character!