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Girls Can Appreciate The Outdoors At Overnight Summer Camps

Author : Stephen Daniels

Traditional summer camps are structured to give girls the opportunity to, among other things, experience the great outdoors. While specialty programs may strive to teach a specific skill or behavior, the traditional variety aims to get kids back into nature, learning stewardship, teamwork and, most importantly, how to have fun without the aid of electronic gadgets. Encroaching urban areas, year-round focus on academic discipline and computer-based technology have conspired to reduce some of the demand that there once was for traditional camps, but they haven't entirely lost their appeal. In many ways, the popularity of these programs is on the rise. Now, more than ever, it's important for young people to experience the outdoors firsthand outside of the classroom and without technology as an intermediary.

Traditional summer camps offer girls all kinds of sports and crafting activities, from horseback riding, archery and hiking, to pottery, art and swimming. Some even offer fencing, mountain climbing, sailing and other more exciting activities. Just as important, however, are the values campers learn and the spirit that is instilled. Respect for one's mind, body, fellow campers, the environment and all living things is a core value. Campers are encouraged to be independent while learning to cooperate with others. They are given the chance to be creative and courageous, and to lead by building team spirit and self esteem - all while growing as people. Kids learn about nature in school, but it is intellectualized, and the structure is rigid. While academic discipline is necessary, kids need time to unwind and de-program from the school year. Summer camps still offer structure, but they are built around having fun and getting to experience the natural world outside the city.

Many summer camps for girls vary in length - some lasting a week, with others lasting three months. Campers share chores, make friends, learn about the outdoors and have a blast doing it. Getting away from home and family is good for campers - and parents. While specialty summer programs for things like tech or weight loss have abandoned many of the traditional elements, they still tend to incorporate familiar things like campfires and free-time activities. Kids need to play, explore their world and learn camaraderie. Too much indoor seclusion has left many young people cut off from nature. They don't truly understand it, even though they may think they have learned it all from TV shows.

The encouragement of proper nutrition, environmental responsibility and ecological awareness has been adopted by many summer programs. It's no longer just pork and beans; healthy meals make for healthy bodies, and that goes a long way in building self respect. Likewise, learning to be a steward of nature is vital, especially as more of it is swallowed up by urban development. Campers learn respect for all living things and how their negative actions affect not only nature, but other people's enjoyment of it. Overnight summer camps give kids the chance to enjoy the stunning beauty of a mountain, alpine lake or forest, and strive to instill in campers a lifelong love of the wilderness. Campers get involved in nature rather than simply learning about it. There may even be a chance to sleep under the stars.

Nature can't just be an abstraction. The natural world instills a sense of wonder and can really be experienced with all the senses, which has likely contributed to the enduring popularity of traditional summer camps for girls. Though many families cannot afford to send their kids away, these programs are beneficial to children from all backgrounds. The firsthand contact with nature is a great break for kids who are indoors and plugged in all year long. If it is an option with your family's budget, the opportunity for your daughter to go to a traditional camp should not be passed up - for the fun they'll have, the values and habits they'll learn and the spirit it builds.

Author's Resource Box

Stephen Daniels is an acclaimed online marketing strategist. He suggests Fernwood Cove, one of the top traditional summer camps for girls in the U.S. Located in Harrison, Maine, this ACA-accredited summer camp promotes participation, exploration, growth and self-discovery with a range of outdoor activities and community building.

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Tags:   overnight summer camps, summer camps for girls, traditional summer camps

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Submitted : 2010-12-27    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 151