During the summer of 2000, campers in approximately 20 camps accredited by the American Camp Association provided answers to questions like “What did you learn at camp?” “How are you different in school because of what you did at camp last summer?” “How do you feel differently about yourself since you’ve been to camp?”
Here’s some of what they said:
Can you think of things you learned and did at camp last summer that helped you in school this year?
- I was more confident, wanted to know everything, was excited to be in school and good grades in 7th grade. (12-year-old female)
- I learned mostly about how to get along with my peers, but also I learned to take on more responsibilities. (13-year-old male)
- My experience helped me look at challenging situations differently and instead of giving up, finding a way around them. (14-year-old female)
- Last summer I learned a lot about how to control my anger. (13-year-old female)
- I learned better sportsmanship and listening skills that helped me bring up my grades in behavior. (11-year-old male)
- I learned how to be on my own without someone with me all the time. (12-year-old male)
- I learned to have more patience and to appreciate the things I have. (10-year-old female)
- I feel that I am better at interacting with friends and family. The people skills learned at camp affected me dramatically when I went home. (15-year-old male)
- Leadership, organization, water-skiing, make my bed, keep my stuff clean, to keep in touch with my friends, respect, how to handle pressure. (13-year-old female)
Do you feel differently about yourself when you are at camp?
- I feel differently because I feel like I am accomplishing something by being here. (13-year-old female)
- At school there are defined groups of people, but at camp everyone feels wanted. (15-year-old female)
- Yes, because I’m with people my age and people who respect everyone. (11-year-old male)
- At camp I think that I can do more and be proud of myself. (13-year-old female)
- At camp I have a personality that is different from home. I’m less cautious to do fun or exciting things. I don’t feel as alone as I sometimes do at home. (14-year-old male)
- When I’m at camp, I feel that I can be more open with myself and others. I tell people things at camp I wouldn’t speak of back home. I feel so much more in tune with myself here, and I can discuss issues so much more openly. (15-year-old male)
- I don’t have to be fake to anyone. Everyone here accepts me as I am, and I’m not judged or criticized. (15-year-old female)
If explaining camp to friends, what would you say you learn here?
- I learned to listen to what other people say. (10-year-old male)
- I learned a lot of team work skills. (13-year-old female)
- You learn how to relate to people on a level deeper than that of school or everyday life, because you live together. (14-year-old female)
- I learn a lot about respect and my real values in life, what they really should be. (14-year-old female)
- Values like how to be responsible and respectful. (13-year-old female)
- You learn mostly how to interact with different kinds of people and are open to different ideas.
- You learn how to cooperate well with others who share and don’t share the same opinions as you. (15-year-old female)
- I learned to have fun, be a leader, discipline, and most of all – respect. (12-year-old male)
- You learn how to make new friends, learn different sports and learn that camp can be a very good part of summer! (9-year-old female)