Why Camp?

by Peter Corbin on June 11, 2011

Is it in self-interest to keep my children at home and not send them to camp?

Having spent the better part of my life – 7 years attending, 26 years working – at summer camps and now being a father of young children (twin 6 year old boys), I have recently come to the conclusion that as much as I’d like to spend every opportunity with my children, that not sending them to camp, would be harmful to
their development.

What camp builds in us: a sense of confidence, independence and understanding and that a little freedom contributes to maturity and responsibility.

Watching children mature, even the slightest, over a few weeks time or even following a small incident at a camp is very moving for me. I remember an event when I was an 18-year old counselor umpiring a baseball game when a young batter turned and swung a bat at a catcher who was apparently egging him on all game.

The first thought that comes to mind in a situation like this is the safety of the campers. Luckily, the catcher was only bruised given the protective gear. The major concern I had was to make sure that the batter (who was ejected from the game) understood the consequences. I was able to sit him and his coach down after the game and discuss it to make sure that he understood the seriousness of his offense. The impact I found, had greatly affected me, the children playing, and those watching the game.

A few years later, I found myself discussing this event with some friends at college when one of them, to everyone’s shock, said, “I was at that game coaching a team that was playing next.” He said he spent hours talking about that event with his campers. He discussed the danger of the event, the way the umpire handled it, and he spent time trying to convince his campers that it was not the norm in a baseball tournament. He mentioned how concerned his campers were.

The lessons I bring to you from this experience is that events that occur away from parents can truly impact a child’s independence and greatly impact future decisions. In this case, I hope that children will think before they act.

About the Contributor: Peter Corbin, Founder & Director of Corbin’s Crusaders Sports Club, is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of children’s development through athletics.

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