We are over halfway through the Summer Camp for the NY local kids and still going strong! We can now proudly say that we feel very positive, inspired, and above all, grateful to our community who believed in our idea and trusted us to start with something completely new this summer. From brainstorming of what to do and where to take our children during the summer months (especially in the current climate) to a successfully organized summer outdoor camp in NYC – what a journey, it has been so far!
We started thinking about organizing a summer camp really just for our own and friends’ kids after most of the usual summer camps got canceled and we needed a place for them to go while the schools are closed. The importance that summer camps have for children is undeniable and while we are all aware of the lasting benefits they have on their development and behavior, everything was up in the air due to the pandemic. While attending camp, children learn good behavior and manners, such as sharing things, accepting differences, listening to each other, and at the same time standing up for themselves. Camp activities also enhance productivity, encourage creative thinking, and boost imagination. Studies also say that it is crucial for a child’s development to spend time outdoors and play with peers. Even more so right now as they are surrounded by a lot of stressors if we want it or not! The natural environment is actually known to have several mental health benefits, such as helping to de-stress and relax, while creating feelings of pleasure and calmness.
All that said, summer camp is feeling a bit different this time around. With safety always being the number one priority, this is today uniquely challenging! But, we ‘ve accepted the challenge and carefully picked out the selected outdoor activities that our campers could do safely while adhering to social distancing guidelines. We’ve focused on nature and open space outdoor activities, that offer a safe place for children to play and require very little or no physical contact.
In addition to that, traditional activities like soccer and ballet are great but we’ve heard many times how children are just not into it and refuse to join. That is totally normal and doesn’t mean the child is not athletic or doesn’t want to do sports. It just might be that they haven’t found the activity that would be a good fit. Being sporty or athletic is not determined by liking a single sport or two – there are plenty to choose from just as children have plenty of different interests, character and body types. That is why we decided to vary activities and provide children with the opportunity to try other types of sports like skateboarding, surfing on the waves, slacklining, climbing or mountain biking on the trails in the woods rather than just biking down the concrete pavement.
Most of the children had little to no experience in any of those activities at the beginning of our summer camp. Gently guiding them to achieve small wins (like riding on a skateboard laying on the tummy:)) has sparked some really genuine joy and excitement. They have picked up a lot of skills very quickly and seem to have found new interests.
Besides those, we can also see a great increase in their energy levels and a generally better mood! Below are the key benefits that we’ve noticed with children the first month into our outdoor summer camp:
- increased levels of energy
- better quality of sleep – children sleep more and better
- increased confidence in sports activities
- improved balance
We look forward to seeing our children gain even more self-confidence in performing multiple sports and get back some healthy summer glow!
All the positive development that we’ve noticed with children represent a huge motivation for us to continue with the program. Seeing the progress children have made, we decided to continue with our activities during the school year as well! We put together a fun after school outdoor activities program, that children can join instead of school or private afternoon care. The idea is very similar to the summer camp and focuses on providing children with the optimal outdoor experience of some more unconventional sports activities. After spending their mornings in virtual classrooms, they can spend their afternoons playing outdoors. For those of you interested in joining, we suggest you send us an email.*
We would also like to invite you to our soon to be introduced “Outdoor-Unplugged Family Weekend Camp Upstate”, where we will invite families to disconnect from the everyday tasks and only focus on themselves, family and friends! A weekend filled with activities in nature for you and your kids!
- Getting Kids to Move More @TheNewYorkTimes
- Six Summer Camp Activities that Work with Social Distancing @CampMinder
- For Now, You Can Still Take Your Kids Outside @OutsideOnline
*While we would love to offer the camp to as many children as possible, we also want to keep the experience personal and the camp safe. That means that the number of spots is limited and we are currently enrolling only families that are a part of our local community pod.