Summer Camp and Mental Health

Jul 1, 2024 | Camps, Latest News, Scholarships

In today’s post, we’re exploring some of the ways kids’ mental health can benefit from time spent at summer camp.

Photo Credit: Little Leaders Academy

Time Away from Technology

Many summer programs, especially adventure camps or sleepaway camps, make a point to get kids away from their devices and out into nature. When children get a break from phones, iPads, and social media, they get to escape the constant demands of responding to friends or feeling like they need to keep up with their peers.

Photo Credit: YMCA Camp Lakewood

Making Deeper Connections

Without the pressures of school and a busy schedule, kids get time to slow down and make deeper, long-lasting friendships with other campers. Friendships with other kids who have similar interests and shared experiences have the tendency to create deep bonds that last for many years, which is important for mental health. These relationships also help children build necessary communication and social/emotional skills that will serve them well throughout their life.

Photo Credit: Camp Encourage

Spending Time in Nature

Time in the great outdoors is linked to many mental health benefits: lower stress, sharper cognition, higher cooperation with peers. One study found that people who had spent at least two recreational hours in nature during the previous week reported significantly greater health and well-being.

Photo Credit: Laumeier Sculpture Park’s Art Camps and Teen Art Programs

Building Key Skills

Camp provides a unique setting for kids to build skills like resilience, confidence and leadership. The American Camp Association conducted a study that found that kids who had high-quality camp experiences demonstrated improvements in engagement, belonging, supportive youth-adult relationships, and experiential learning.

It is critical that summer camp and out-of-school programming is more accessible to youth in the St. Louis region. We know that positive camp experiences greatly benefit kids’ mental health and support their continued learning and growth throughout the rest of the year. But many parents and caregivers face significant barriers to sending kids to camp. Blueprint4 exists to help break down these barriers and connect more families to camps that support their needs.

See what programs are available at stl.blueprint4.com!