Attending a summer program made me the young adult I am today. Throughout the many years I spent at various JKCP summer programs for teens I learned so many things without even realizing. At the time, I was having fun and spending time with friends, but looking back, I realize camp was shaping the adult I would become. Here are four ways that summer camp prepared me for adulthood.
1. Interpersonal Skills - Camp allowed me to assimilate into a large group of students I didn't know, and I learned to get along with them. Starting conversations and hearing about people's backgrounds seemed like common sense back then, I was just trying to be friendly. Today, those same skills are being used to meet new friends and form new connections with work associates. These interpersonal skills were formed unknowingly, and have become second nature. When staying overnight at a camp for a period of several weeks, certain skills become necessary. I had to share a living space with people I had never met before and I was definitely a little nervous to meet them. I found that everyone I met at camp could be someone with whom I shared common interests.
2. Multicultural Experience - I met students from all over the world, and learned about their different cultures and norms. As a child, meeting others my age from so many different cities and countries was an invaluable asset in my development as a young adult. Not only did I realize that people from other countries were not so different from me, but I also learned that we can get along and benefit from one another’s alternate experiences. Hearing people speak another language to each other inspired me to take my language lessons a little more seriously in school, and six years later I can have a conversation in French.
Hey, that's me! I started attending JKCP at a young age.
3. Structured Independence - When I was a kid I wanted to run around and play games, without instructions from an adult. Camp is structured and has rules and I didn’t think that was for me. Once I got there however, I realized the schedules we have to keep and the rules we have to follow are simply to keep us safe and allow us to make the most out of the situations we find ourselves in. Listening to the counselors was in our best interest.
4. Learning from Every Situation - Camp taught me that even if I am not all that interested in something, there is always a good reason for why I have to do it. The counselors at JKCP are hand picked for their amazing attitude and love for working with young people. All of the counselors that I encountered throughout my time at JKCP took the extra step to make sure everyone was comfortable, safe and enjoying themselves - they were also just fun people!
5. Preparing for College - The interpersonal skills I learned at camp helped me in my transition from high school to college. Life at camp is not so different from life at college. Living with those my own age and following a schedule were things I had become used to at camp, and when it came time to move into my college dorm, I was not worried about the transition. I had already done it at camp. Even though I went to summer camp to have fun, summer programs for teens are designed to provide so much more, and what I took away went much deeper and longer lasting that just fun.