Summer Camp Teaches Valuable Life SkillsPosted by on November 11, 2019

Overnight summer camp is a perfect opportunity to explore new areas and experience new activities.  With over sixty weekly activity options Fernwood Cove girls have the opportunity to learn new skills each day they are at camp.  However, their newly developed skills in archery and water skiing are likely not the most valuable things they gain during their summer days in Maine.  Summer camp teaches valuable life skills like leadership, independence, responsibility, and communication.  Fernwood Cove campers gain an understanding of these and similar skills while living alongside other campers in bunks and throughout various camp activities.  More importantly, they are able to practice these skills in the experiential learning structure of learning, practice, do reflect.  (Repeat)  It is the experiential nature of camp that creates a unique learning opportunity where campers thrive.

Life Skills In Daily Life At Camp

Fernwood Cove girls gain a variety of skills while at camp.  However, when past Fernwood Cove parents comment about the skills their daughter gained at camp they often mention life skills.  Parents mention everything from their daughter’s independence to her ability to make her bed.  Cabin life develops important life skills of responsibility and resilience.  New activities further develop campers’ abilities to learn from the struggles and challenges they face. Fernwood Cove girls develop life skills in daily life at camp.  In this holistic learning environment, their personal growth is boundless.

Former Fernwood Cove camper, CIT, and counselor Rachel Shapiro included valuable skills of independence, self-confidence, and generosity in her long list of skills she developed in her summers at Fernwood Cove.  As a high school teacher outside of Boston, these are skills she utilizes daily.  And through her experience as a camp counselor she gained the skills to now impart these skills upon her students in the classroom.  As a parent knowing that summer in Maine can help your daughter develop greater independence and self-confidence makes overnight camp an easy choice.

Learning Life Skills To Help Others

Through media in today’s society it’s easy to think that today’s teens and young adults are highly focused on themselves.  However, they often thrive when given the opportunity to help and positively impact others.  Fernwood Cove is deeply rooted in our value of community.  Campers are encouraged to help each other and their counselors daily.  Camp traditions like the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) Award recognize girls doing acts of kindness in the community.  Green initiatives like recycling encourage campers to be environmental stewards for the global community.  Programs like Cove Sisters foster relationships where older campers guide younger girls in their early summers of camp.  Fernwood Cove girls are actively learning life skills to help others in the camp community and beyond.

A unique aspect of the Fernwood Cove programs is our CIT (Counselor In Training) Program.  Largely based on leadership development, the program provides former campers with the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in the camp community.  CITs assist in all aspects of camp and take on greater leadership roles as the summer-long program progresses.  CITs have some of their greatest impact as Bunk Cousins (Buzzins) to camper bunks. They lead everything from clean-up to evening bunk circles.  Former CIT Ainsley Pollock said that “learning how to take care of others when they need it” was one of the greatest things she learned.  Undoubtedly these skills were developed while supporting campers in all aspects of residential camp in Maine.

A Unique Place for Learning

In a recent interview to be a camp counselor a former camper discussed how the environment of camp helped her learn.  And how traditional academics were a struggle with her ADHD.  She openly discussed how opportunities to speak at Services and lead activities as a senior camper helped her develop confidence.  And now as a freshman in college she’s confident in her abilities to be a leader in group projects and speak up in class.  For many of us, the stress and pressure of school and society can stifle our abilities.  Whereas summer camp is a unique place for learning.

Former counselor James Maslin now works as an account manager for Vans in the United Kingdom.  He credits his summers as a camp counselor as a time where he developed self-confidence and the ability to trust his judgement.  He says “I think I came to camp with some skills, but they were nurtured and appreciated more there than anywhere before.”  Personal growth is entwined in each day at camp.  Everyone from the Fernwood Cove Directors to the youngest of campers are learning.   More importantly, they are encouraging others to learn along the way.  This supportive and cyclical learning community creates the nurturing and appreciative environment that James mentions.  It is in that that former campers and counselors find confidence to speak up in class or lead a board meeting.  And it is these skills that employers are seeking most in today’s working world.

Life Skills Are Priceless

There are a multitude of opportunities for kids and young adults today.  It can be hard to decide which are the best investment of time and money.  Few opportunities have truly guaranteed results.  When thinking about overnight summer camp families often focus on activities like water skiing and rock climbing. The learning at camp goes so much deeper than the activity-based skills.  Investing in overnight camps like Fernwood Cove is a considerable commitment, but any opportunity for considerable personal growth is a great investment and life skills are priceless.