(Because, what's not to love?!)
This year, we're flipping the script on common social media terms to show you how camp redefines "social"...
Camp redefines connected
Did you know that kids, on average, spend 4-6 hours a day watching screens?
They are the most "connected" generation, yet struggle with basic social skills.
Camp redefines "connected" by providing a safe, inclusive community for campers to develop important social skills and begin life-long friendships.
Camp redefines Feed
One of my favorite parts about camp is...
But it's not just the s'mores, taco night, or even Ms. Terri's famous chicken pot pie-- it's how we do meals.
At camp, meals are shared "family style".
In a culture where life is too busy to eat together many nights, at camp kids get to experience the fun and interaction of (camp) family at every single meal.
Studies show that these seemingly simple interactions lead to greater emotional well-being in children, among other benefits.
Camp redefines tag
Nowadays I spend more time "tagging" via Facebook, than in our grassy backyard.
While culture has changed the usage of "tag", one thing hasn't: kids love to play.
But because of the rise in "quick-fix" video games and screen time, researchers tell us kids are spending 50% less active play time when compared to 40 years ago, with only 1 in every 3 kids participating in physical activity each day.
Camp encourages kids to get up, get out, and play hard, and take part in often challenging and unfamiliar activities. This leads to a notable increase in self-esteem in many campers.
With dynamic group games, swim time, and other activities, camp makes being active FUN!
Camp Redefines Chat
My guess is it was probably not a "what", but a "who".
Parents, let's face it. We're just not as cool as the "big kids" (teens and young adults) our kids look up to. We could tell them to do something 16 times, without result, but if the right person speaks the same thing into their life-- BOOM-- something clicks.
Hardly a day goes by that I don't think about someone who spoke something into my life at just the right moment that helped me grow into the person I am today.
Camp provides caring mentors with listening ears and loving hearts to speak truth and encouragement into campers' lives.
Campers are often able to open up about their fears and concerns and be met with a prayer, a hug, a word of affirmation, and a nudge to dive into God's Word for answers.
Camp redefines Like
I think it's natural that kids love watching other kids, but I want my kids to grab life by the horns and really, truly experience it!
Don't get me wrong, I love technology.
(What mom doesn't enjoy showing ALONE from time to time?)
But summers spent hiding behind screens seem wasted to me.
That's why camp is my favorite time of the year. No TVs, no iPads, no computers and other distractions-- just day after day of sunshine-filled bliss and endless opportunities to enjoy.
Camp is like a big ol' re-set button. It gives kids the opportunity to unplug from distractions, decompress, think clearly, love fully... and dream big!
Camp redefines Friend
How many of those do I see on a regular basis? Probably less than 100.
Social media has changed the way we think about "friends":
We've settled for Messages, in lieu of deep, meaningful conversation.
We've exchanged actual face time for FaceTime.
We've set "Likes" as the our currency for worth.
We are surrounded, but not connected.
Did you know that belonging has shown to improve health, happiness, and even motivation?
This is quite possibly the most important aspect of camp: Camp provides a place to belong.
And no matter a child's background, social status, gender, quirks and all-- everyone belongs at camp.
This belonging-- by other campers, counselors, and by God-- helps kids to see that they are loved, accepted, and worthy just as they are.
Talk about life-changing.
But the only real way to know it is to experience it first-hand.
So what are you waiting for?
Sign your child(ren) up before our few remaining spots vanish.
And as always...
We hope to see you at camp!
About the author
Katie Gibson is an introvert who enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee while reading or writing. She first attended Camp Gideon as a Leader-in-training in 1997, and now serves as Administrative Director and Fundraising Coordinator.
Katie lives in Acworth with her husband Craig; their three children, Avery (8), Emory (7) and Bethany (3); and one irresistibly sweet golden retriever, named Holly.