Specialty camps are something special!
By Allison Hodges, Director of Camp Webb
The definition of summer camp has changed over the past two decades. The traditional six-week-overnight-camp-in-rustic-cabins- in-the-woods model still serves as the basis for camp, but the “Specialty Camp” has emerged as a growing trend in the nation’s summer camp experience. Specialty camps create a unique environment for campers both educationally and socially.
The specialty camp experience enhances the benefits that normally occur at traditional summer camp such as boosting self-confidence, learning teamwork and leadership, and making new friendships.
Friendships formed in specialty camps are especially strong, as campers share a common interest that not only creates social comfort, but also turns the “normal” social hierarchy on its head. That shared interest becomes the focal point of camper interaction, which increases the value of a camper’s natural ability rather than his/her popularity level. In this new social hierarchy, a camper is respected for his/her skills and talents, rather than outward appearance.
Fostering a young person’s natural talents in a socially safe environment can really heighten their interest in the subject matter. Children flourish when they have something that interests them and that they’re passionate about. Participation gives them an opportunity to learn what it feels like to succeed and enjoy the process of learning. Often this experience helps them in later life, as they develop who they are and how they will contribute to society.
So you’re saying to yourself, “Wait . . . I thought camp was just supposed to be fun!”
Well, isn’t learning fun? A place where kids can be comfortable while they’re learning is commonly disguised as fun. Think about enrolling your children into a camp program with a specific interest. They may discover something new about themselves they didn’t expect – just by having fun at camp!
Allison Hodges lives here in Knoxville and has been the Director of Camp Webb at Webb School of Knoxville for 12 years. She grew up attending camp and has been in the industry professionally since 1997. She is passionate about what camps can do for children of all ages and encourages everyone to spend some time at a summer camp.
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