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Summer of 2023 Camp

This Summer of 2023 might be the most important summer for our children
and their mental health in the 29 years my organization, Kidventure, has
been running summer camps in Texas. Since our humble beginnings back
in 1994 in West Houston, we always understood the power of camp and
how it could effect positive change in the lives of our campers.

From the outside

All the camp games, field trips, projects, and archery
classes provide adventure, fun, and excitement. But, the real impact of
camp is realized when we utilize all of those activities to foster confidence,
instill happiness, develop courage, encourage friendships, and forge trust.
These attributes (or outcomes as we call them at Kidventure) are the true
rewards of camp and exactly what our kids need now. Furthermore, they
are realized not by the events and activities of camp but through the
relationships that are created during them. What a camper remembers
most about camp are the relationships – those with their camp counselors
and their fellow campers.

A recent study

Conducted by the Health Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA), finds that between 2016 and 2020, the number of
children ages 3-17 years diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29 percent and
those with depression by 27 percent. The findings also suggest concerning
changes in child and family well-being after the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic.

Behavior Issues

From 2019 to 2020, researchers found a 21 percent increase in children
with behavior or conduct problems. The proportion of children with
preventive medical care visits dropped by 9 percent and the proportion with
unmet health care needs grew by 32 percent. Children’s physical activity
decreased by 18 percent between 2016 and 2020. Anxiety disorders —
characterized by excessive fears and worries — started at early ages. The
report found 2 percent of children ages 3 to 5 had anxiety. That percentage
increased to 13.7 percent for those ages 12 to 17.

Why this is Important

So why do I share this data with you? Why provide you with statistics
about the mental, social, and physical well-being of our kids? Because it is
exactly the reason we provide summer camp for our kids. This was our
mission back in 1994 and never has that mission been so critical as right
now.

Camp is a unique space unlike any other. Camp is not school and it is not
home. When done right it offers a child a place where kids are not judged
or graded. They are encouraged to explore their world, take chances,
express themselves, succeed, and fail. That kind of space can be
transformative.

No one really wants to talk about the pandemic anymore – and for good
reason. But the effects it had upon everyone, particularly our kids, should
be recognized and addressed in real-time as we move further in a
post-pandemic world. How we respond to that opportunity will in great part
assist our children in building sound mental health and a positive
self-image. Camp provides a powerful platform from which to support this
and the opportunity to bring happiness and inspiration to so many.

 

Related articles:

https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/50-things-all-kids-should-try/

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