In a previous post, I talked about five outcomes every participant in a summer program would achieve – independence, discipline, communication, networking and identity building. All five of these are so incredibly important to our lives, that they have to be learned somewhere. We have heard time and time again that camps and summer programs are a key to helping students build these habits and abilities.
Now that the summer of 2014 has come to an end and it is officially time to head back to school, it’s a great time to reflect on how a summer spent at a camp or summer program can translate to life at school throughout the year.
- Grades: This is the obvious one - the universal mark of success. Students who spend their summer at a programs like the ones that JKCP has to offer understand that a grade is more than just a letter. It is a representation of your work ethic, passion and drive to succeed. We often tell our students that you will get out exactly what you put in. Because class/group sizes in summer programs are small, our students know that they’re success translates to how hard they work for it. This quality is one that carries over to the academic year.
- Working with Others: Summer programs are all about teamwork, more importantly, learning to work with people who are not like you. Whether students are black or white, American or Indian, democrat or republican, religious or not, students have a chance to gain an understanding of how their classmates live. The ability to empathize and understand is one that will take you very far in life.
- Communication: In a summer program (specifically ones that are away from home), students are require to advocate for themselves. This means that students master the art of face-to-face conversation, problem solving and conflict resolution. Think about your group projects, negotiations with teachers/coaches and so many more instances where the power to speak your mind in an appropriate and productive way would help. Happens often, right? At a summer program, these are the types of skills you learn.
- Decision Making: We talk a lot about independence. Why is independence such an important part of a summer program? The real reason is decision making. When you live on your own (without your parents), you learn how to negotiate what really matters in life and how to create a routine that keeps you clean, healthy and safe - If you’re lucky, you might even enjoy yourself while you do it. Those who have the chance to experience this learning are simply more prepared to make good decisions when they are not in these atmospheres.
- Boundaries: School is full of difficult decisions and choosing which one to make is probably the most important aspect of everyday life. Through acquiring the skills that we talked about before, you are enabling yourself to know what kind of person you are. Understanding yourself and your identity are keys to having a successful school year.
What an incredible opportunity we have to spend our summers with over 1,000 young people working in academics, sports, arts and so much more. We look forward to hearing about all of the incredible things that young people achieve throughout this upcoming school year!